Live Review: Daily Echo Feb 2015

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Count Arthur Strong, Tivoli Theatre

First published Friday 13 February 2015 in Reviews by Will Frampton

Fresh from his successful television debut, veteran thesp, director, writer, crooner and national treasure Count Arthur Strong brought a touch of Broadway class to the Tivoli theatre in Wimborne.

Or so he would have us believe. Leeds-born Steve Delaney’s pompous, muddle-headed and endlessly endearing creation has been entertaining audiences young and old on BBC radio for a decade with a bewildering onslaught of mixed metaphors, malapropisms and spoonerisms.

It is hardly a surprise therefore that the role of the count should fit his creator like a pea in a glove.

Over the course of the show we learned about the life of Dr Doolally star Rex Harris, with musical accompaniment, enjoyed a sermon about creation (“in the beginning there was nothing.. and God”) and the story of Alan and Evelyn in the garden of Edam, and discovered why people from Liverpool should never speak in front of a priest.

There was a detour into the jungles of Borneo with Sulky Monkey, a ventriloquist’s puppet which refuses to speak, and a Beatles medley, with the help of Ono Yoko, made for a fitting climax.

In amongst the wordplay as always there was wit in abundance, and a liberal sprinkling of bawdiness and toilet humour, while the gentil charms of the Tivoli made for the perfect setting.

The set would perhaps have been improved by an overarching narrative more similar to the various series, but some have argued that the sitcom style has pulled the teeth of the satire – the character’s underlying tragedy.

If there’s a grain of truth in that, it was hardly in evidence last night, as the count’s struggles against his failing memory and scattergun tongue were as affecting as they were hilarious.

In a word – prefect, which as everyone knows is another way of saying perfect.. backwards.



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