Brighton Argus Review 2008

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Count Arthur Strong – The Musical, Komedia, Gardner Street, Brighton, Jan 27
By Jess Barrah

From the anticipation before this sold-out show started, it was evident that most of the audience had heard – if not seen – comedian Steve Delaney’s character, Count Arthur Strong, before.

As a habitual Radio 4 listener, I have heartily enjoyed Count Arthur Strong’s radio shows (currently airing on Friday mornings).

I knew he was an elderly variety entertainer. I knew of his constant struggle to locate the correct word and almost pathological problems with pronunciation. I knew of his close relationship with his friend and butcher, Wilf . However, until Sunday night I had no idea of what he looked like.

Having now seen him in person it seems a shame that only the vocal part of his comedy can be conveyed by the radio – as in conjunction with his physical humour, his character is even funnier.

Delaney inhabits Count Arthur so completely that when the audience was asked to stay for a re-take – seemingly only for a better shot of the collection bucket – he stayed in character and created a few extra laughs.

The rambling, bumbling raconteur was “sussposably” there to raise money for the musical version of his life story. The examples of the musical numbers he’d be performing (when he’d eventually raised enough money to hire the London Palladium) were the highlights of a hilarious night.

I especially enjoyed the song I can only call Doncaster, where Arthur accessorised his brown trilby and black dinner jacket with a pair of angel wings and a dangling coathanger.

I also literally cried laughing when Count Arthur Strong did his “mirror” dance with badly-wigged sidekick Malcolm. He even got “down with the kids” as a rapper with a hedgetrimmer, although he got so “down with the floorboards” with his hip-replacement geriatric breakdancing that it seemed unlikely he’d get up again.

I hope that if the London Palladium is not within Count Arthur’s budget then something else can be arranged so more people can see this hysterically funny character.



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