Review: Paul Hollywood reveals his York back story at the Barbican

Rock (bun) and (bread) roll star… Paul Hollywood in York. Photograph: Twitter
9 May 2014 @ 9.58 am
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Rock (bun) and (bread) roll star… Paul Hollywood in York. Photograph: Twitter
Rock (bun) and (bread) roll star… Paul Hollywood in York. Photograph: Twitter

Review: Paul Hollywood: Get Your Bake On!
Venue: York Barbican, Thursday, May 8

There are not many performers who can entice 1,400 people to pay the best part of £30 a head to watch them make an apple pie. But Paul Hollywood can.

Mary Berry’s toy boy (he calls her ‘Bez’ and giggles every time she comes up in conversation) brought his fruity pud to the Barbican as part of his 50-date national tour – Get Your Bake On! – chucking in a black forest gateau, a zesty couronne and a seedy (in a good way) wholemeal loaf for good measure.

After a few minutes of banter from a warm-up man who took a bit of time to warm up, the audience – mainly women with a few token husbands dragged along to dilute the raging torrents of oestrogen threatening to wipe out the electrics at any moment – was treated to an evening of baking, reminiscing and cheeky double-entendres (stiff peaks, popping cherries, master bakers, etc) from the Great British Bake Off’s blue-eyed boy.

It turned out the Barbican gig was something of a homecoming for Paul, whose father ran a chain of bakeries – Bread Winner – from headquarters here in York, where he put his eldest boy through his paces making endless trays of doughnuts (just think, you might have licked the sugar off one of Paul’s buns without even knowing it).

The Liverpudlian baker’s ovens might have remained resolutely cold throughout the performance (they were just there for show), but personal stories like this, and about “me sisters” Mel and Sue, and “our Bez were well-told with warmth, wit and infectious good humour.

And it wasn’t just a one-way street. A live Twitter Q&A involving technically-adept audience members and a Generation Game-style bread plait-off for the technically cack-handed gave the show an inclusive, chatty atmosphere.

At the end of an unchallenging but enjoyable evening, it was definitely a big hurray for Hollywood.

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