Fringe Review: The Independent 2003

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“If there’s one must see on the fringe each year, it has to be Count Arthur Strong”
The Independent, 2003

If there’s one must-see on the Fringe each year, it has to be Steve Delaney’s astonishing creation Count Arthur Strong. The Count, a Tourette’s-afflicted thespian done in by old age and booze, might resemble a waxwork (albeit one on the verge of melting – it’s bloody hot in here), but he’s clinging to life with as much dignity as he can muster, which isn’t very much.

After last year’s remarkable lecture on Ancient Egypt (aided by Tiny Tut, a ventriloquist’s mummy), this time he intends to approach the mysteries of being, God and all the big issues. If only he wouldn’t keep confusing Charles Dance (“the French singer”) with Charles Darwin…

As ever, half the room is left almost as bemused as Arthur by the performance, as our host soon strays off the subject, discussing instead his upcoming autobiography, battling with technology’s cutting-edge (a dictaphone) and unexpectedly launching into a wine-tasting demonstration (“First rule: never, ever spit any of it out”). You’ll discover why Arthur never got the James Bond role, the secrets of Richard Briers’s army days, and the choice of music played at the Last Supper. Unmissable, really. As he says, you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll… the other one.



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