Review of 'David Baddiel – My Family: Not the Sitcom'


I have always enjoyed David Baddiel's dry though sincere humour in his various television appearances so when tickets came up for this, his autobiographical stage show, I had to jump at the chance to see him in action.

“My Family: Not the Sitcom” is a one man show starring David Baddiel on a simple, plain, stage with a backdrop showing a number of pictures from his life which, of course, is the theme of the show. At the start of the evening Baddiel talks about some of his often ironic (Twitter) tweets and the amusement he has at the reactions they provoke however the show's primary theme is the idea that at funerals, or after a person's death, we often treat the deceased as saints but it is important to remember they were real people with their own faults and foibles otherwise we are not being true to their memory. He illustrates this point by focusing on his mother who recently died. It turns out that she was a very open and honest person who cheated on her husband quite openly for many years including having her golf-loving lover present at many family gatherings. She was full of contradictions that Baddiel expands upon at length. Particularly amusing is Baddiel's relating her frequent misuse of “inverted commas” in her writing. Intended to imply a different meaning to the enclosed phrase she generally used inverted commas when it was the literal truth she actually meant. Whether this amusement is more at his reaction or to her grammatical mistake is debatable. This grammatical faux-pas repeats throughout the show including a later quite uncomfortable section where he reads out the erotic poetry she wrote that Baddiel discovered following her death.

The discussion of his father is somewhat more subdued. His father is now in a care home suffering from dementia and sounds like quite a character unafraid of being brutally honest throughout his life but even more so now with the progression of his disease. He now spouts obscenities and is generally unlikable. A newer picture shows this exaggerated character very clearly with the smiling Baddiel standing with a loving hand on the shoulder of his sitting father who, in turn, is making an obscene hand gesture to the camera.

The two hour performance (with one 20 minute interval) was well received despite the house being less than 50% capacity on the Wednesday we visited. His encore was to show the reactions to some of his more recent tweets.

The show was quite funny throughout with Baddiel on top form. His startling honesty is quite amazing and very touching. Baddiel's talent is as an enthralling storyteller who is able to see the absurdity of how people react to the events of everyday life. A moving and enjoyable show.


Review Date: 2017-05-10

Playhouse Theatre

Location: London (England)

Address: Northumberland Ave, London WC2N 5DE

Public Transport: TUBE Embankment TUBE Charing Cross NRLOGO Charing Cross

Telephone: +44 (0) 844 871 7631


A tiny theatre located out of the way just under the bridge from Embankment tube or around the corner from Charing Cross. It has a tiny foyer (and bar) with toilets and cloakroom (and bar) in the basement. The interior is quite well maintained with the typical Greek gods and such.

The stalls are just above street level with circle and balcony levels above as well as two boxes on either side of the stage. Seats are quite comfortable and the theatre is air conditioned.

Home to some of the slightly-less mainstream acts/shows that come to the West End.