Review: Suggs: A Life In The Realm Of Madness

PUBLISHED: 15:06 31 October 2018

The Madness frontman has gone from humble beginnings to enjoy an amazing career.

The Madness frontman has gone from humble beginnings to enjoy an amazing career.


A fascinating glimpse into the extraordinary life of Suggs, frontman of revered ska band Madness, was given to a riveted audience at Weston-super-Mare’s Playhouse Theatre last night (Tuesday).

Talking everything from his tough youth in North London to meeting the Queen, Suggs regales an audience with his life story part two.Talking everything from his tough youth in North London to meeting the Queen, Suggs regales an audience with his life story part two.

Following hot on the heels of his first sell out show, My Life Story, Suggs is treading the boards again with a continuation of his tale.

My Life Story was about how he got to be where he is today, and this one, Suggs: What a King Cnut is about the surprises awaiting him when he did.

I have been a huge fan of Madness since their early days of success in the early 1980s, when my parents bought their first two albums and we sang along in our living room and watched their zany videos on TV.

Then when I was about 17 I joined a friend’s band and we were heavily influenced by them.

Suggs will be performing in Weston later this month.Suggs will be performing in Weston later this month.

I have seen them play live many times and in 2008 I was lucky enough to interview the man himself before the band played a low-key gig in Bridgwater. It remains one of the highlights of my life.

Love him or loathe him, Suggs is a consummate showman. Not many lead singers can pull off tours of not just one, one-man show but two of them. He might have the help of Deano his trusty pianist, but as his role is limited to providing the music to accompany Suggs’ singing a few numbers and interjecting with a well-timed punchline, it is Suggs who has the audience eating out of the palm of his hand.

The show takes fans on a poignant journey from his humble beginnings living with his mum on the tough streets of North London, through the number of trades he learned by nicking tools from Woolworths, to the early days of starting a band with six mates. He touches on a chance meeting with troubled singer-songwriter Amy Winehouse, his mum’s sadness during his childhood leading to a huge revelation at the height of his fame, an accidental feud with former Queen star Brian May and two major highlights of his career which happened in 2012 - being part of the closing ceremony of the London Olympic Games and performing Our House and It Must Be Love from the roof of Buckingham Palace at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee concert.

Each anecdote is retold from the heart with a massive dose of humour and humbleness at the sheer madness of fame and the opportunities it affords, with the expectation of it being taken away at any minute.

Suggs recounts anecdotes from his life on stage.Suggs recounts anecdotes from his life on stage.

The show is a rare insight into the lives of the rich and famous and a treat for all Madness fans and I urge anyone to catch it if you can.

Information and tickets for future Playhouse events can be obtained from The Playhouse Box Office on 01934 645544 or from the website

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