Rob Beckett is finally in Dubai on Monday

Premier British comedian performing at Dubai Opera

by David Light

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Published: Sun 24 Oct 2021, 6:14 PM

Last updated: Thu 5 Jan 2023, 3:13 PM

A delay of almost a year now, venue changes and even a move from Thursday to Monday couldn’t dampen our enthusiasm for one of the UK’s top comedic voices finally making his way to the UAE to perform. Belief sustained us and, this evening, Dubai Opera will at last welcome panel show favourite Rob Beckett to the stage with the verve and noise upon which the venue has built its reputation. One of the most in demand talents on British TV, Beckett’s time comes at a premium meaning our only shot at a conversation in January no longer holds tremendous relevance given the pandemic’s (what else dominated conversations then?!) developments. At that moment, in England, people were confined to their homes for a second period, although television personalities were allowed back into studios to film the entertainment those stuck on the sofa readily devoured. And in a way, Covid measures or not, being classed as an ‘essential worker’ proved just how vital escapism is to the human condition.

“You need that distraction,” Beckett said about his craft. “Whenever anything bad happens to you, you want it. I love performing and hopefully whatever is going on in your life this show will be a distraction.”

Ostensibly coming out to put on his last UK tour sell-out presentation, Wallop, Beckett revealed his method of working dictates each performance’s structure and content is as fluid as the audience allows.

“You get two types of comedians,” Beckett explained, “those that memorise the show and those that have it as a guideline. I’ve never memorised an exact show. I’ve never written it down. I have the bones in my head and then I build it around what happens on the night. There’ll be a lot of interaction.

“I’ve done the show hundreds of times but I had to take a big break, so it’ll be a bit like monkey bars: I’ll have to swing out and hope to grab the right joke and not fall off.”

Beckett admits there will have to be at least a mention of coronavirus — “probably how our two countries dealt with it differently” — reasoning you can’t leave out major events that affect the place in which you’re playing. “If it were closer to the World Cup in Qatar, I’d do a big thing about that,” he said. However, most of the act will be centred on his usual cutting observations on family and showbiz, highlighted by the adlibbed cues taken from the crowd.

“I am absolutely buzzing,” Beckett said about heading to the Middle East. “I can’t wait to be warm and get to do the job I love.”

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