Pub Landlord Al loves the front row at Shrewsbury's Theatre Severn for a reason

Members of the audience who are sitting in the front row of Theatre Severn really have nothing to fear, and that's official, says the landlord himself.

Al Murray
Al Murray

Comedian Al Murray is set to bring his satirical character The Pub Landlord with his warped pro-Brexit, pro-British Empire stance to Shrewsbury in two shows on the same day next week and members of the audience will as always be a key part of his act.

"It's always good fun at Shrewsbury," said Al as he was about to head for the motorway to Buxton as part of his rescheduled tour.

"At Theatre Severn there is a lip from the stage to the front row, so I can see all their faces."

Al's hugely successful and long-running character popped into existence almost by accident in the Edinburgh Festival Fringe's comedy bear pit in the early 1990s.

As a stand-up Al is used to asking members of the audience their names and occupations and nationalities. His material is off the cuff reactions based on what the character would say.

"I am more interested in the people I'm playing to and getting stuck into the actual people there," said Al when asked about jokes he has made in previous shows about Welsh, as one example.

"You can smell the fear!" said Al. "But I am sure that people understand that I am not being rude. We all come to play together!"

Al added in an interview with the Shropshire Star that the pub landlord was "just like going into a pub and having a chat with the barman."

The character's longevity is explained by the world's ever-changing political situation and the juicy and preposterousness of everything from Donald Trump to the global pandemic.

Once upon a time being a pro-Brexit Eurosceptic was far from the norm in politics, said Al.

"But now it is the mainstream, so we have a chance to talk about that," said Al.

It's a state where the Pub Landlord can "complain about it forever," he said.

Al, who in 2015 stood tongue in cheek against UKIP founder Nigel Farage in a parliamentary election under the Free United Kingdom Party (FUKP) banner, denies that his shows become rallies.

"I don't have a UKIP-Y audience at all," said Al. "The character is all about them and preposterousness and they hate it!"

Oxford graduate Al uses his knowledge and love of history to devastating effect on stage, taking what his character would believe about the course of events.

And the Pub Landlord's satirical view on history is bound to come to the fore again.

The global pandemic, topping statues, and the history of Afghanistan are all in the sights of the Buckinghamshire-born and Bedfordshire educated, crowd pleasing pint puller.

Al, whose character takes pride in Britain going to war with almost every country in the world said: "The Pub Landlord would see Afghanistan as a long term project."

Al's show, called Landlord of Hope and Glory, is in Theatre Severn's auditorium twice next Wednesday, (Sept 15) with performances starting at 6pm and 9pm.

And like a cork popped from a lady's favourite white wine bottle after a year of having shows shaken up due to lockdown, Al says he can't wait.

"It doesn't look like people are nervous at all about being in theatres again, which was my worry," he said.

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