Count Arthur Strong: The Man Behind The Smile, Assembly@George Street, Edinburgh
Thursday 07 August 2008
I have mixed feelings about plundering a bygone era of light entertainment for comic material, and yet two Fringe performers do this immensely well, Justin Edwards as the alcoholic children's entertainer, Jeremy Lion and Steve Delaney as another sozzled old has-been, Count Arthur Strong. There's a bittersweet feeling to watching these fictional, and very similar, performers of yesteryear variety bumble their way through their shows. I would liken the experience to that of watching Paul Whitehouse's Rowley Birkin QC in The Fast Show, for a more widely-known reference point, but with more jokes and levity.
The show is based on a retrospective on Count Arthur's career featuring footage of him edited into shows such as Ask The Family and Dixon of Dock Green, where he can be seen face-pulling and making inappropriate comments. These snippets are well put together and I would have forgiven him for showing more though I normally abhor too much VT in a live show.
Count Arthur's ramblings, meanwhile, are full of paradoxically dextrous speech trips: "what a lovely show, I mean what a lovely audience ... showbusiness is like no business I know ... anything about." Such silly syntax puts me in mind of Les Dawson playing the piano badly, it takes skill.
To 25 August, except 5, 12 & 19 (0131-623 3030)
Review: Cilla, ITV TV
To mark Tolstoy's 186th birthdaybooks
Arts & Ents blogs
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- 3 Lego breaks out of the toy box and heads for the gallery
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- 5 Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
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Lego breaks out of the toy box and heads for the gallery
Cilla, ITV, review: Sheridan Smith embodies the young singer perfectly
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Tyler, The Creator says having new U2 album automatically downloaded on his iPhone was 'like waking up with herpes'
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Scottish independence: Yes campaign feels the heat as Alex Salmond's NHS claims come under furious attack
£23m Birmingham cycle scheme is attacked by Tory councillor for not catering to the elderly
Salmond accused of laughing off national debt with ‘what are they going to do: invade?’ joke