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 Maids

Dundee Rep

Two sisters sit in glass cases either side of the stage at the start of Eve Jamieson's production of Jean Genet's nasty little study of warped aspiration and abuse of power. Bathed in red light, the women look like artefacts in some cheap thrill waxworks horror-show, or else exhibits in a human zoo. Either way, they are both trapped, immortalised in a freak-show possibly of their own making.

Once the sisters come to life and drape themselves in the sumptuous bedroom of their absent mistress, they raid her bulging wardrobe to try on otherwise untouchable glad-rags and jewellery. As they do, the grotesque parody of the high-life they aspire to turns uglier by the second. When the Mistress returns, as played with daring abandon by Emily Winter as a glamour-chasing narcissist who gets her kicks from drooling over the criminal classes, you can't really blame the sisters for their fantasy of killing her.

Slabs of sound slice the air to punctuate each scene of Mart…


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 …

High Society

Pitlochry Festival Theatre
Four stars

The stage looks gift-wrapped with a sparklingly expensive bow at the opening of John Durnin's revival of Arthur Kopit's Cole Porter based musical that reinvigorates the starry 1956 film where it originated. With the film itself drawing from Philip Barry's play, The Philadelphia Story, Kopit and Porter's depiction of the Long Island jet set says much about over-privileged party people, but retains a fizz that keeps it going till all passion is seemingly spent.
The action is based around the forthcoming nuptials of drop-dead gorgeous society gal and serial bride, Tracy Lord. With her daddy having run off with a show-girl, and ex beau next door CK Dexter Haven set sail for other shores, Tracy settles for George, a stinking rich would-be president for whom stupidity, as someone observes, sits on his shoulders like a crown. Enter Tracy's match-making kid sister Dinah and a pair of reporters for a trashy scandal sheet looking to stit…