Clinton Baptiste – Live Review – Halifax Square Chapel
By Victoria Holdsworth, October 2019
The stage is set for one of the most miraculous comebacks of all time. After completely selling out the auditorium, Clinton Baptiste is about to blow the dust from his glittering, diamante microphone. Hypnotic backdrops, displaying the man of the hour in all his finery, are causing fever pitch anticipation for what is about to come through the celestial curtains.
But first a short warm up from Rich Wilson, looking as though the triumphant return may get off to a slow start. However, thanks to some hecklers, the comedian comes into his own. There are some notable gems in his set, especially about old people using MDMA, learning about bad men in the woods at a young age, and how the length of his testicles could teabag one of his hecklers from where he stood. Before finishing his set, he asks audience members to write down a dead celebrity that they may wish Clinton to contact tonight. The excitement is palpable!
As the lights dim and a veil of smoke wafts from behind the velvet curtains and weaves its way around the auditorium, the world famous psychic, Clinton Baptiste, bursts onto the stage. It’s a stage adorned with backdrops of the psychic’s face, a tacky Ikea cocktail stool, and a toolbox, emblazoned with the show sponsor, ‘Lawlers Hardware Superstore, Bolton’ (Building supplies that are out of this universe, at down to earth prices.)
In his dazzling white suit, cape, quaffed bleach blonde mullet and his eternal flame candle, he majestically walks out to the centre stage, taking his glitzy microphone. Then just as the music starts to fade, he shrieks, “Y’all right?”
After a few funny quips about Halifax, we are at the start of a spiritual journey, as Clinton explains he will be bending over backwards tonight, to show us his third eye. How do we imagine death to be he asks?
Taking himself in amongst his crowd, he explains that tonight he will be contacting the spirits, but also letting you know about his own spiritual journey into becoming the phenomena that is… Clinton Baptiste.
The way Comedian Alex Lowe uses this character to interact with the audience is nothing short of genius. Tonight there are a few hecklers determined to spoil the evening, however Clinton had other ideas, and cuts them down to size with some brutal and hilarious put-downs.
Each night of the tour is different, depending on who is in the audience, so it is a joy to be able to watch him switch things up from person to person, with some lightening quick wit.
After some side splittingly funny, bad audience readings from Clinton, he is now ready to share with us some of his otherworldly gifts, which will include levitating a table, to his grand finale of actually crossing over to the other side – and then coming back again. The props Clinton has for his cheeky charlatanism work with some classic slapstick effect, which adds to the whole chintz of the world he is poking fun at.
We don’t know much about Clinton before tonight, unless you have listened to some of his podcasts, so the man of the hour drags his cocktail stool to the centre stage, and takes a pew.
The story of his childhood is one to make you weep with laughter. Growing up, he explains how he knew he was different to all the other kids, because of his gifts. There is a cracking story about him getting his first jazzy suit, however it is the tale about how his life came to have more meaning when he first witnessed Derek Acorah on daytime television whilst working at Iceland, and realised his destiny, that is truly memorable.
“Superbly well executed”
Clinton also reveals some darker times in his life, regaling the death of his lover, and then wife, Maureen, a 75-year-old hapless fire-eater, with whom he struck up a romantic and artistic relationship for many years. However, after she died and left him some items in her will, he is shunned by all when rumours circulate he was with her for the money and possibly bumped her off himself.
All this leads up perfectly to Clinton’s grand finale piece. He will go where no other performing psychic medium has gone before, and actually cross over to the other side to not only prove it exists, but to also find his love Maureen and confirm his innocence, once and for all to his sceptics.
The next part of Clinton’s show did not leave a dry eye, or seat in the house. Alex Lowe should be commended for his fleshing out of this well-loved persona, and giving him such an in-depth back-story. The way that he uses a genre, and an era of comedy, bringing it cleverly into modern stylings is superbly well executed.
The end of the set sees the audience’s suggestions on the cards, written beforehand at the end of the first act, being channelled. The usual culprits names have been placed in the pile, and even though some of the subjects are controversial, Alex Lowe’s amazing ability to ad-lib is tested to its fullest.
Tonight was a comedy masterclass – riotously witty, warmingly mirthful and the funniest thing I have seen all year.