Gig Review: Adam Kay in Bristol

Last Thursday evening my husband and I set off, through chaotic travel conditions that had emptied motorway traffic onto every other route toward Bristol, to attend a sold out show I had booked tickets for in the spring. It was touch and go whether we would get there on time but we made it – just! Judging from the empty seats in the auditorium a fair few didn’t.

We were there to see Dr Adam Kay on his comedy tour based around his best selling book, This Is Going To Hurt. Much of his material was taken from the published diary entries. Added to these readings were songs in a similar vein.

The show is very funny. I did feel a tad sorry for the doctor seated near the front who Adam kept referring to for laughs. Hopefully he took it in good spirits.

There was further audience participation in a sing along quiz. This worked better than it may sound – Adam had most of the audience in the palm of his hand.

My husband, who hasn’t read the book, was laughing more than I have seen in years throughout the evening. He wasn’t, however, impressed by the way the show was concluded. Having shared the very moving reason for resigning as a doctor, Adam gave his views on health secretaries and the way governments blame staff for problems in the NHS, which the media duly reports thereby influencing the general public’s perceptions. He asked that we consider the challenges of being a medical practitioner where, despite best endeavours, patients may die. Doctors are human. They sometimes make mistakes. The job is stressful enough without having to face accusations of greed when ninety hour weeks are being worked to ensure patients are cared for.

On that somewhat downbeat note the show ended. Adam received rapturous applause and moved to the foyer where he signed books purchased. He had explained earlier that, on each leg of the tour, a local bookshop is invited to provide stock as some tax may thereby be paid.

It was an enjoyable evening. Fairly short – for a show at that price, not a book event – at around an hour but was packed with laugh out loud anecdotes and irreverent banter. If you haven’t read it already, I recommend the book.

5 comments on “Gig Review: Adam Kay in Bristol

  1. BookerTalk says:

    I saw a reference to this book at the weekend where he was described as a comedian. I thought that was a mistake but now you’ve confirmed it’s accuracy. An hour does seem short when you’ve had a battle with traffic but I suspect it’s the kind of event that would be hard to sustain for long her.

  2. Interesting to hear about this! Have been meaning to get to his book for awhile now, he sounds very funny but informative.

  3. John C. says:

    I’ve just been to the show tonight in Poole. I hadn’t read the book and knew little about Adam Kay. For nearly an hour it was very enjoyable – extracts from the diary and musical ditties, which were well done. Like the reviewer’s husband I wasn’t impressed by the show’s conclusion – it was appalling. While I accept that a serious incident resulted in Adam Kay leaving medicine, the turn to seriousness and the political undertones of what was being said was a massive dampener on the evening. For heaven’s sake, man, end on a light note and leave people leaving happily. It was a depressing way to leave a theatre. And such a short show. It was billed as a night of comedy not a book promotion! I won’t be seeing him again.

  4. Daniella says:

    Hi there,

    I loved reading this review of Adam Kay. 

    As you may already be aware, the production is transferring to the West End’s Vaudeville Theatre soon. It would be great if you could update your page to mention this. The below page has up to date information and official tickets, so it would be great if you could add in the new link:

    Do let me know if that’s possible.

    Kind Regards,


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