Skip to main content

25 Years of Reeves and Mortimer

Edinburgh Playhouse
Three stars

The great big number 25 emblazoned in white on a Milk Tray coloured backdrop scales the full height of the Playhouse stage at the opening of this greatest hits tour by any other name by the most singular of comedy double acts. The charity-shop lounge-core pre-show soundtrack too is as showbiz as it gets. Sired on a mix of punk and working men's club cabaret, Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer have always played with such iconography, even as they've subverted it with absurdist abandon.

True to form, catchphrases of the “You Wouldn't let it lie” and “Look at the size of that sausage” variety are cheered to the rafters on the second night of a tour that almost never was after Bob Mortimer's triple heart bypass operation necessitated its first leg to be cancelled last autumn. Old friends such as The Man With The Stick, Donald and Davey Stott and Mulligan and O'Hare too are greeted like conquering heroes. All of which makes for what is essentially an extended reboot of Vic Reeves' Big Night Out, the pair's 1990 TV debut that so startled audiences with their unabashed delight in the ridiculous.

There's a glorious warmth to proceedings, even as Mortimer works his pulse monitor into an act that also includes his Graham Lister character poking lard through the eye-holes of a Benedict Cumberbatch face mask during the show's Novelty Island segment. Yet, despite the appearance of Mortimer's Judge Nutmeg, a thin second half leaves you wanting more in a way that not even a faux Hollywood flourish to finish with can compensate for in a welcome but patchy return to the live arena.

The Herald, February 1st 2016



Popular posts from this blog

The Honourable K.W. Harman: Ltd Ink Corporation

31 Bath Road, Leith Docks, March 17th-20th

In a monumental shipping container down by Leith Docks, a Sex Pistols tribute band is playing Anarchy in the U.K.. on a stage set up in the middle of the room. Either side, various constructions have been built in such a way so viewers can window shop as they promenade from one end of the room to the next, with the holy grail of a bar at either end.

Inbetween, there’s a confession booth and a mock-up of a private detective’s office with assorted documentation of real-life surveillance pinned to the walls. Two people seem to be having a conversation in public as if they're on a chat show. An assault course of smashed windows are perched on the floor like collateral damage of post-chucking out time target practice. A display of distinctively lettered signs originally created by a homeless man in search of a bed for the night are clumped together on placards that seem to be marking out territory or else finding comfort in being together. Opp…

Scot:Lands 2017

Edinburgh's Hogmanay
Four stars

A sense of place is everything in Scot:Lands. Half the experience of Edinburgh's Hogmanay's now annual tour of the country's diverse array of cultures seen over nine bespoke stages in one global village is the physical journey itself. Scot:Lands too is about how that sense of place interacts with the people who are inspired inspired by that place.

So it was in Nether:Land, where you could see the day in at the Scottish Storytelling Centre with a mixed bag of traditional storytellers and contemporary performance poets such as Jenny Lindsay. The queues beside the Centre's cafe were further enlivened by the gentlest of ceilidhs was ushered in by Mairi Campbell and her band.

For Wig:Land, the grandiloquence of the little seen Signet Library in Parliament Square was transformed into a mini version of the Wigtown Book Festival. While upstairs provided a pop-up performance space where writers including Jessica Fox and Debi Gliori read eithe…


Tramway, Glasgow until July 2nd
Four stars

In the dead of night, the audience are split in two and led under-cover into lamp-lit tented structures. Inside, what look like peasant women on the run lead us down a ramp and into a large circular pod. It feels part cathedral, part space-ship, and to come blinking into the light of such a fantastical structure after stumbling in the dark disorientates and overwhelms. Sat around the pod as if awaiting prayers to begin, we watch as performers Nerea Bello and Judith Williams incant mournfully on either side of the room. Their keening chorales embark on a voyage of their own, twisting around each other by way of the international language of singing. As if in sympathy, the walls wail and whisper, before starting to move as those on either side of the pod are left stranded, a gulf between them.

This international co-commission between Glasgow Life and the Merchant City Festival, Sydney Harbour Foreshaw Authority in Australia and Urbane Kienste …