Alexei Sayle at FACT

An Evening With Alexei Sayle (FACT, Liverpool April 22)

Alexei Sayle was back in his native city for an entertaining look back at his TV and film career. He responded with his usual candour and wit to a series of clips, including TV appearances in The Young Ones, Alexei Sayle’s Stuff and the classic Comic Strip films, and big screen performances in Indiana Jones and Gorky Park.

Alexei Sayle (bottom right) watches himself at FACT

Alexei Sayle (bottom right) watches himself at FACT

 

Alexei seems to have mellowed since his appearance at the Bluecoat 10 or so years back, when he memorably abused Ben Elton and gave short shrift to some of the audience’s questions. However he made it pretty clear he has little time for Dara O’Briain (who’s playing him in the new film about Paul Raymond) or the BBC’s Alan Yentob. He also had some funny stories, including one about the late British actor Michael Elphick decking William Hurt during the filming of Gorky Park in Helsinki. He was honest about the patchiness of his film career, admitting he never should have accepted parts in Carry On Columbus and Siesta (‘a load of pretentious crap’).

He’s recently returned to stand-up comedy, and says he’s now himself on stage rather than the comic character in a tight-fitting suit – all his stories are based on things that have actually happened to him. He’ll be touring the UK in the autumn, though as yet there’s no Liverpool date. He’s also halfway through the sequel to Stalin Ate My Homework, his hilarious memoir of his childhood and youth in Liverpool (Alexei’s mother, like his father a leftwing firebrand, died just six weeks ago). The evening confirmed that he has both the ability to laugh at himself and a very high opinion of his own talents – but one that most of the audience clearly shared.