Review Nottingham Post 2011

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Tuesday, April 05, 2011

LIKE all the best character comedy, Count Arthur Strong invites your pity as well as your laughter.

He’s as delusional as John Shuttleworth, and as similarly lacking in talent and self-awareness, but the Count has more in common with Alan Partridge.

Like Steve Coogan’s creation, he embodies the egotistical, self-aggrandising, simmering bitterness of the failed entertainer with dubious successes behind him, and only lonely old age stretching ahead.

Not that this show should be mistaken for a serious meditation on anything.

The alter ego of Steve Delaney, Count Arthur is frequently incoherent, his fantasised anecdotes constantly derailed and denied their pay-offs. His mind addled by drink (particularly after a quadruple Bells at the interval) and senility, the hilarious high spots are his absurd stream of consciousness ramblings, strewn with malapropisms, pomposity and misdirected rage.

Indeed, Delaney is so captivating as the character that the arrival of co-stars on stage feels like an unnecessary interruption. It doesn’t help that these sequences are basically overlong meandering sketches.

Far better was the Count’s doomed-to-fail attempt to recite country and western classic Deck of Cards, his ridiculous staging of a scene from Dracula playing both the parts, and, best of all, his rotten ventriloquist act with a miniature mummified corpse called Tiny Tut.

The show ended with a rendition of Windmills Of Your Mind and some choreographed nonsense with an umbrella that isn’t likely to cause Rihanna any sleepless nights.

Overall, an agreeable shambles.

Jon Duckworth



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