Review of 'An Evening with the Hairy Bikers'

The Hairy Bikers


I am a fan of the Hairy Bikers, Si King and Dave Myers – a pair of “ordinary blokes” from “up north” who mix their every day style of cooking with travel and, of course, humour. I suppose they are a bit of an acquired taste and can be a bit grating, I just think they are fun and more than a bit silly, oh, and they can cook quite well too. They have written twenty book, toured three times and filmed countless television cooking series. When we heard they were on tour and visiting the Palladium we could not resist going for what promised to be an evening of fun and cooking…I was not disappointed.

The 7:30 show started with a brief spoof video featuring Si and Dave at the “Hairy Biker Mansion” sharing a bath tub drinking champagne and a butler answering the phone for them, an play on the idea that fame has not changed them (!). The stage had a small seating area on the left which also had a set of drums for Thunder, a folk-rock group consisting of some aging (seated) rockers featuring three guitar players, a lead singer and a drummer that played a few numbers throughout the night, a center small cooking area and a table where two sets of guests (for each of the two halves of the evening) sat to try the food having been fetched by Si and the MC for the evening, “Deano”, dressed in a butler's uniform.

There were videos throughout the evening as they answered questions from the audience read out by Deano. Another spoof video at the beginning of the night was from various famous chefs including James Martin and Rick Stein who basically slagged the pair off (with bleeped out swearing). Other clips included their eating goat's penis in Vietnam, one of their least favourite dishes, this was instead of the deer penis which, though featured prominently across the menu, evidently, was not available when they visited. They touched on their early days together first meeting on the set of a television drama (with Si as assistant director and Dave in the make-up department) then doing a pilot in Morecombe Bay (a video clip showed them out on the sands at low tide with Dave landing beside Si in a ultralight that then promptly got stuck) and their first few television series where they wrote the script, directed, set up the camera angles, etc…A clip from their first television show had Dave tickling trout (unsuccessfully) in a stream (off season) in Portugal (they eventually went to a shop). A later story they told was of Si having hurt himself in Vietnam while filming where he visited a hospital, was given a morphine shot then told to go to another hospital…three times so by the time they finally got treatment he was off his face then went onto do a cooking segment with Dave who had to literally move Si's hands as he was deep frying food (he had already happily put his whole hand in the oil previously!). Other stories featured Dave's appearance on Strictly Come Dancing including “spray Thursday” where the starts of the show all get their tans (“double dipped” if you have more revealing outfits) - It came off in his bed and he thought he had had an accident! They touched on their dieting as well (they said their shadows looked like walnut whips!) where they both lost 3 stone (42 pounds) each, of which they were very proud.

Part of the fun of the Hairy Bikers is their banter and off-script remarks. This was very true for the evening with Dave's non sequiturs causing disbelieving responses from Si as well as the occasional bad joke: “What is the difference between Roast Beef and Pea Soup?” “You can roast beef.” or “Sex is always better on holiday.” “How do you know that?” “My wife said it on a postcard she sent me.” The water from the tap they had in the middle of the stage this evening took some time to actually start providing water so they quipped it was a “prostrate tap” (as it is much like going to the loo in the middle of evening where no matter what you do nothing comes out).

With all of this, they did do some cooking in “Deano's Diner” where Deano had a hand-held camera and attempted to capture the action so we could see it on the big screen – without much success and being constantly harassed by the pair. The first half featured some starters including Si's “spicy nuts”. The first two people from the audience were quite amusing and got into the whole thing, taking advantage of the free nibbles and beer (another segment at the start of the show was Dave going through an amusing disclaimer about not being responsible for any adverse reaction from the food). Si liked the lady but not the guy though the lady was able to use the microphone better (left in the middle of the table for them to use whenever they wanted to say something). As the volunteers left the stage they were given aprons.

The first half ended with a song from Thunder which went over quite well with the audience.

After a 20 minute interval there was another spoof video of the two in their dressing room being annoyed at having blue M&Ms where they had specifically demanded they not be present. Returning to the stage, two more volunteers were found in the audience, this time a lady who is in “war studies” and a postman. They really took the micky out of the lady but liked the postman…

The cooking continued with a melted chocolate dish (melted in a microwave) looking to Si like “something you find when you deworm a collie”. While waiting for the microwave maracas were brought out for a brief bit of dance…The rest of the cooking was of steak, mash potato, grilled asparagus and salad. An amusing clip was of Dave pointing out the various cuts of meat outlined on the body of a semi-naked Si, ending in the disturbing (jelly) “belly” cut…Another slightly more disturbing clip was of the two of them skinny dipping in a pond…“Something you cannot un-see” according to Deano. Another clip was of Dave's race horses and fancy house garden in France.

The show ended with several more songs from Thunder. After they left the stage Si and Dave encouraged the audience in singing “Living on a Prayer” which Si accompanied on the drums (he plays in a band). At the end a short video showed the two good friends hugging on a boat at sunset.

The programme is a bit pricey at £10 but includes 19 recipes and a few articles talking about the pair so makes it quite worthwhile to pick up.

The whole evening was great fun with most of the crowd really getting into it, guffawing at the appropriate bits. When the two strayed from the script it was just so much fun, reacting to each other and the people in the audience. This is not high-brow humour but it is very funny nonetheless. I did not really know what to expect but the show was really well done and highly entertaining. There were very few quiet moments while the two were on the stage.

I did not learn much about cooking but I certainly had a great time.

Rating: “Nearly perfect, but not quite”

Review Date: 2019-03-09

London Palladium

Location: London (England)

Address: Argyll Street, London England, W1F 7TF

Public Transport: TUBE Oxford Circus

Telephone: +44 (0) 844 412 4655


The grand old daddy of London theatres, the Palladium has a long and illustrious history of Vaudeville, pantomime, the Royal Variety Performance show (held yearly as a “command performance” for the royal family), “Sunday Night at the London Palladium” live television show as well as big modern musicals including the Sound of Music, Mary Poppins and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Access to the theatre is simple as it is immediately adjacent to Oxford Circus and on a quiet side street that is (normally) vehicle free. The interior of the theatre is magnificent in a classical way having been recently restored.