Top critical review
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Nothing to write home about.
on 25 February 2009
I received this box set as a present, I was not really a fan of Russell Brand but I had seen Ponderland on its original TV run and found it entertaining viewing. This 3 DVD set includes all six episodes of the aforementioned Ponderland and two live concerts from 2006 and 2007. These concerts are only slightly over an hour each, so it's not great value. OK, so there are a few token extras, but nothing of note.
As for the shows themselves, I was disappointed. They had no structure, no theme, no real jokes, just Russell talking about himself for an hour. In both shows there was a section where Russell read from the day's newspaper and commented on the stories, which shows just how stuck for material he was. The 2007 show was the better of the two, but not by much. There were a few funny moments, but basically he just relied on his manic energy and personality to do the work in lieu of material. The bits were often repetitive and relied on Russell's small repertoire of funny accents. The 2007 show also used a fair bit of material later recycled in Ponderland.
Had I bought this set myself, I would feel somewhat cheated by the fact that the two live performances could have easily gone onto one disc. It's just repackaged overstock, really. Ponderland at least had themed programs and evidence of research and pre-planning. It's worth a watch, but I wouldn't recommend the live sets: all preening and posturing and no substance whatsoever.