Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Hooked On Laughter Royal Hippodrome Theatre Eastbourne review

Hooked On Laughter
Royal Hippodrome Theatre
March 8th -3rd November 2010

Starring (appearance order)

Georgia Lee
Drew Cameron
Vicki Lane *
Dance Fantazy (Jo-Anna Pitt, Donna Pitt, Hayley Kember, Kerry-Ann Steadman)
Steve Hewlett (and Friends)
Wayne Champagne
Vizage (Sam and *Vicki Lane)

Having already seen Steve Hewlett twice this year we finally got to see him and his Friends in the show he is actually starring in. I would have thought that having seeing Steve at two charitable events already I may have seen most of this act already. I thought wrong. Although there was the odd piece of material we had seen I would say 95% of it was completely fresh content.

This talented ventriloquist really does seem to have a bottomless pit of material from which he can keep young and old fully entertained, with his range of puppets being diverse and impressive. Actually that was the thing that stumped us. The kids are still on holiday but there was not a child in sight. Children would absolutely love every part of Steve's act in this show.

Perhaps it's the 8.15pm start that puts off families with children? It's certainly not the shows content which these days is about as family friendly as you are going to get.

As always with The Hippodrome's variety show each entertainer has multiple appearances and it is great that with Steve, quite rightly, being the headline act he has at least 7 different sequences. Don't just expect laughter from the ventriloquism either, he's quite the comedian too.

As always it's a long season for the Royal Hippodrome's variety show, 8 months in fact. But like last year it's a very varied, energetic show.

The lovely local girls of dance group Dance Fantazy are as well choreographed as ever and looking great. Singer Georgia Lee and Comedian Wayne Champagne make a very welcome return too.

Now wouldn't it have been easy for director and producer Colin Matthews to have taken the easy option and given Georgia some tracks she sung last year or letting Wayne come out with the same jokes?

Fortunately, Mr Matthews doesn't appear to favour this approach, realizing that local people who thoroughly enjoyed the show last year are likely to return this year, and every year ,as long as the material is fresh and entertaining.

That is exactly what this show is. It is also why this show continues to attract coach loads of people from far and wide. This is the type of variety show that many of us, who are old enough to remember, used to watch on a Sunday evening on TV in the days when we only had 3 or 4 channels to choose from. It is refreshing to be able to go to a theatre, to watch a show that has been running 6 months, and to find that theatre practically full.

Everybody involved in producing this show appears to have got the formula right. It's a show which gets many of its audience members from word-of-mouth recommendation.

I haven't yet mentioned a couple of the acts yet Drew Cameron is an impersonator and comedian who was on Britain's Got Talent in 2008. He got put through to the semi finals but unfortunately got no further as he took the performers good luck wish of "break a leg" literally. He has a particularly memorable role in this production playing one of Steve Hewlett's dummies.

Since their appearance on Britain's Got Talent husband and wife team, Sam and Vicki Lane, have travelled the world with their quick change clothing/magic and illusion act. It's very entertaining. But it is probably best enjoyed from at least half a dozen or more rows back in the auditorium. If you are too close to the front you can see and hear things that spoils the eventual effect on many of the illusions.

It's a great show performed by a bunch of people who really look as though they are still having a great time together, even with 3 months still to go.

I look forward to seeing who will be in next year's show and after The Sound Of Laughter and Hooked on Laughter what the name will be? Assuming the laughter theme continues how about Rolling with Laughter or Happy ever Laughter?

Not seen Hooked on Laughter yet? Don't miss out. This 2 hour show is still proving extremely popular and with variety shows of this quality rapidly becoming a thing of the past it makes for an entertaining night out.

4 and a half out of 5 for Hooked On Laughter

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  1. September 27th. Would not of known that this show had already been up and running several months.Fresh and very funny with a vent i did not know,Steve Hewlett, a true star of his medium top of the bill. Two hours of wonderful entertainment.
    10/10. Mike Lang.Brighton cabaret act.

  2. I couldn't agree more about Steve Hewlett and the Hippodrome show. Thanks for commenting Mike


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