Tuesday, 6 October 2009

I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue Review Host Jack Dee

Congress Theatre, Eastbourne
6th Octobert 2009
Host: Jack Dee
Barry Cryer & Graeme Garden
Tim Brooke-Taylor & Jeremy Hardy
I'm sorry I haven't a clue. Jack Dee, Barry Cryer, Graeme Garden, Tim Brooke-Taylor, Jeremy Hardy

Who ever would have thought that what is a theatre version of a Radio 4 programme could do what most other productions have failed to do this year............... fill a theatre? !!!!!

Yes apart from the mainly restricted view seats this was one of the largest audiences we have seen at The Congress in a long time. It seems that in a country still depressed in a time of recession laughter is still the best form of medicine.

For anybody who hasn't listened to the iconic radio show it is a madcap collection of different improvisation quiz rounds where anything can and probably will happen. Two contestants against two others are (almost) kept under control by the host who also keeps track of the 'score'.

The format bears striking similarities to the TV series 'Whose Line Is It Anyway'. It's just as funny, completely mad, unpredictable, the 'scoring' is absolute rubbish and in some ways Jack Dee comes across as a younger, slimmer version of WLIIA host Clive Anderson.

Other hosts such as Stephen Fry have taken part in the tour of this production. But this really suits Jack. His humour is traditionally 'slow and dry' and how great it works here. Some obviously scripted parts are torn apart by loads of ad-libbing and some especially good jokes regarding the local area.

And what great and accomplished improvisationers we have as contestents: two ex-Goodies, an alternative comedian and one 'almost' traditional comedian all taking part in this mad, mad show.

With the whole audience taking part in 'guess the tune' rounds by playing well known tunes on kazoos (which were provided) this really is just a good excuse to get out of the house and have a bloody good laugh.

Barry Cryer ,OBE, is now well into his 70's and still performing as sharply as I remember him some 30 odd years ago. Jeremy Hardy I have to admit I'd never heard of before but his off-the-cuff humour was excellent. As for Tim Brooke-Taylor and Graeme Garden well they are both comedy geniuses anyway and they don't disappoint. When Graeme made the decision not to follow his medical qualifications and to become a comedian rather than a doctor that was a great moment for British comedy.

Returning to Barry Cryer though - he really is a lovely, lovely man. Behind us in the audience was a man who clearly had some sort of mental problem. He was in the wrong seat and didn't understand the ticket/seat numbers. Although his difficulties were clearly apparent the people who wanted that seat were so rude to him and then somebody in our row turned round and gave him more verbal grief before theatre staff intervened to help this poor man move.

Later, outside how refreshing it was to see Barry Cryer meet this man, who was clearly known to him. There were long hugs and kisses for this man who only a couple of hours earlier had to endure the ignorance of non-disability understanding people.

Hopefully the memory that went home with him was the love shown by a real gentleman in show-business rather than a handful of rude, ignorant, individuals. Barry's compassion is certainly something that I will remember from this evening.

If you get the chance to see this great show on tour don't miss it. If it returns next year we'll be there for sure. You can't beat a good laugh and something refreshingly different and this show fits both of those requirements with 5 very funny celebrities taking part.

5 celebrities conveniently leads me to award a well deserved 5 stars for this utterly mad evening out.5 out of 5 for I'm Sorry I haven't a clue
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