WHY analyse the intricacies of gearbox differentials and relative engine horsepower, when you can fire a car out of a cannon into a quarry?
Turning Top Gear into motorised version of Jackass may have had the motoring purists clenching their leather driving gloved fists in fury, but it has proved TV gold for the BBC … and financial gold for its trio of presenters.
Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard ‘the Hamster’ Hammond are now household names, courtesy of their irreverent and child-like approach to car reviews.
But would their gung-ho TV show translate to an arena venue?
From the moment the petrolhead presenters drove in on a turbo charged Top Gear stage we were accelerated into the show’s winning formula of man-child noise and mayhem.
If we weren’t being dazzled by beautifully engineered supercars gliding around the arena then we were being blasted by souped up stunt cars wheelspinning in a cloud of burning rubber or entertained by Clarkson, May, Hammond and, of course, The Stig,racing each other in unroadworthy, knocked together contraptions to much laughter from the sell out audience.
Aimed squarely at the childish boy racer in all of us, Top Gear Live is a feast of roaring engines, thumping music, screeching tyres and over-the-top pyrotechnics.
Hey, they even set fire to a pair of sports cars and have them race up and down the arena while a woman in chromed thigh length boots attacks them with a flame thrower. Understated the show is not.
From the sublime to the ridiculous, we has synchronised sports cars followed by a Robin Reliant stock car race before ending up with a full blown football match between England and Argentina, in cars, naturally.
The mix of stunts, banter, breath-taking cars and eye-popping set pieces, and all at a pit crew wheel change breakneck speed, made for a highly entertaining evening for adults of all ages – as long as, for an hour and a half, they had the mindset of teenage pyromaniac Grand Theft Auto addict who loves the smell of burning rubber in the morning.
**The show still has performances running, matinee and evening, Saturday and Sunday.