I’ve sold my first 10 tickets as the box office opened today and I’d love you to come and see me in ‘Ya Beauty, 30 Years of FCT’.
I promise you it will be a night to remember (even with me in it). A cast of 80. So it will lack nothing in the power stakes but it’s the quality of the harmonic singing that has blown me away in rehearsal.
It runs on the Easter weekend from Thursday 9 – Saturday 11 April (with a matinee on the Saturday). It’s at the Church Hill Theatre in Edinburgh and tickets cost only £10 for adults.
Let me know if you want tickets and I’ll sort it out for you.
Mark Thomson, The Lyceum’s Artistic Director, often talks before his shows of the need for theatre, and The Lyceum in particular, to entertain.
Now, entertainment comes in many forms. I’d list The Shining, Apocalypse Now and Hunger among my favourite and most entertaining movies but they are not everyone’s cup of tea; nor are they uplifting. My wife wouldn’t have described Hunger as entertaining, that’s for sure. So the notion of entertainment is open to considerable interpretation.
But let’s get this straight from the off; Irma Vep is PURE entertainment.
I laughed until I broke out into a sweat.
I cried and howled with laughter.
I gasped with laughter.
This show is utter class from the first, and I mean the first, moment the curtain rises and we see Andy Gray as he walks onto stage sporting a fake wooden leg and the limitations that places on straightforward movement. John Cleese would have applauded loudly.
This sets the scene for farce of epic proportions. Not Pythonesque though. It’s more in the tradition of Scots Panto. There are many nods in the direction of Russel Hunter, Walter Carr, John Grieve (is he related to the director I wonder, indeed assume) Francie and Josie and, king of them all, Stanley Baxter. Which is to heap a great deal of praise on the heads of the quite astonishing performances (in terms of characterisation, timing, energy and wit) of Andy Gray and Steven McNicoll.
Honestly, they will have you rolling in the aisles.
As I said, Panto, and slapstick, is the predominant genre here, although the show’s story is actually a pastiche of Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca with a bunch of Hammer House of Horror thrown in for good measure.
I cannot imagine what the script must have read like because it is SO Scottish, so ‘of the people’ and so personal to Gray and McNicoll that you wonder what was on the page.
Each of them plays about four parts but they interchange through very quick changes from scene to scene all night and at times it is breathless and, as a consequence, even more hilarious.
McNicoll’s Jane Twisden is possibly the dominant role (the evil maid in Rebecca) played like the tea lady in Father Ted at maximum volume throughout. It’s so beautifully crafted and voiced that it leaves you gasping again and again.
Gray’s best moments are in his Lady Enid Hillcrest character which moulds Stanley Baxter and Mark Walliams into an unholy combination.
But seriously, there is not a single moment of weakness in any of the characters they play.
The direction by Ian Grieve is faultless and the wonderful set is a key part of the show with its myriad of doorways from where every character appearance and disappearance heralding yet another belly laugh each time they appear. It’s ingenious.
I cannot praise this show highly enough.
OK it’s got an odd name but don’t let that put you off. (It’s an anagram of I’m a Perv by the way!)
Go. Go now. No, now. Don’t think about it. Just go. No, do. Do it. Do it now. Go do it. Go on. Go on, go on, go on. Now. That’s it. Get down there. Now. Yes, now. Go on now.
Just for you Pete.
I’m not sure. It looks a bit unlikely. But judge for yourself.
That last frame is a retouch I think.
‘Talking Dog for Sale .’
He rang the bell and the owner told him the dog was in the backyard.
The guy went into the backyard and saw a Labrador sitting there..
‘You talk?’ he asked.
‘Yes,’ the Lab replied.
The Lab looked up and said,
about my gift, and in no time at all they had me jetting from country to
country, sitting in rooms with spies and world leaders, because no one
figured a dog would be eavesdropping. I was one of their most valuable
spies for eight years running.’
‘But the jetting around really tired me out, and I knew I wasn’t getting
any younger so I decided to settle down. I signed up for a job at the
airport to do some undercover security wandering near suspicious
characters and listening in. I uncovered some incredible dealings and
was awarded a batch of medals. I got married, had a load of puppies, and
now I’m just retired.’
The guy was amazed. He goes back in and asked the owner what he wanted
for the dog.
‘Ten euros.’ the man said.
‘Ten euros? This dog is amazing. Why on earth are you selling him so
‘Because he’s a liar. He never did any of that shíte.’
There is something about Jade Goody that demands respect. OK it’s easy to knock her apparent obsession with being in the media eye but give her due respect – it is her job, her income stream and she works hard for it.
Jade Goody is a brand and a lot of people like it. Myself included. Sure, it’s not Chanel. She lacks what posh people would call ‘class’ but she has a sense of style that I admire.
She’s dying though.
And here’s the rub. She will get a mixture of praise and shit from the media over what remains of her life and she will command column miles; never mind inches.
But, if you saw her programme, like I did, on Living TV tonight you will know that she is a public figure worthy of respect.
Do you recall, did you see even, what must be her lowest moment on Big Brother when she was co-erced into stripping off? (I think she was duped in a game of strip poker.)
It was sad, and arrogent of her fellow house mates. But I think she has learned a lot since then and not in a way that loses any of her, still, naive charm.
Jade Goody is a good person. Let’s hope what remains of her life touches some hearts and that she dies with dignity and at peace.