Mark Kermode, Birmingham Rep - review

“The definition of a gentleman is someone who can play the bagpipes but doesn’t, I’m the sort of person who can’t play the bagpipes but does” cue live rendition of Amazing Grace on the bagpipes by Mark Kermode.

Mark Kermode
Mark Kermode

On the final leg of his book tour ‘How does it Feel? A life of Musical Misadventure’ film critic Mark Kermode told the story of how his ‘how hard can it be’ mentality led him on the path to music, creating a wholly different career to where he is today.

Talking at The Rep, Birmingham, and performing on the set of the theatre’s production of the Snowman, the critic told the audience of his long-time aspiration to be Dave Hill from Slade, unfortunate band names such as Hopeless and Herpes 100, making his own guitar and being canned in Hull when trying a career as a stand-up musical comedian.

It seems that the words ‘can’t’ or ‘won’t’ don’t exist in Mark’s vocabulary and his conviction to be a musician or be involved in music in some manner led him to be the musical director of a major BBC TV show without being able to read sheet music.

It may sound a bit too lucky but, perhaps though shear stubbornness and an absolute conviction, it worked.

With his Dad in the audience, Mark demonstrated an array of musical bits and bobs such as a Stylophone and the neck of his handmade guitar (he’s still looking for the rest after it was stolen - keep an eye out!). Amongst the musical paraphernalia was a harmonica and a theremin, whilst bringing a willing audience member on stage, Mark encouraged them, in the spirit of ‘give it a go’, to have a go.

Hilarious to say the least, the tale of Mark’s musical misadventures was heartwarming and inspiring, regardless of the grand trees and the odd piece of faux snow courtesy of the Snowman set that fell just as Mark was telling the audience not to be scared of any musical instrument.

With a question segment at the end of the talk it was clear that his fanbase covered all the ages, serving as a testament to his ability to communicate and relate, we have all attempted to emulate the musicians we adore in hopes of experiencing even a smidgen of the fame and glory the real deal possess.

If you can catch the rest of his tour, do so, it may encourage you to revive your inner musician.

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