It’s been a fairly busy week.
On Tuesday, off I went to York to watch The King’s Speech. Now, given the way this film has been hyped in recent weeks, one would be forgiven for not realising that, actually, it is a very, very funny film indeed. The dialogue fizzes with lots of wondrous one-liners and mordant wit. And of course it also has Helena Bonham-Carter, who, as far as I’m concerned can do very little wrong. Both Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush are fabulous but, for me, the jaw-dropper was Guy Pearce‘s turn as Edward VIII: his appearances are fleeting but spell-binding. Of course, it’s not a comedy. It’s so much more: at turns witty, sad, angry and frustrating. It really is quite, quite spellbinding. And I’ll buy the DVD when it turns up because I think it will bear up to a lot of repeat watching and deserves the awards it’s getting right now.
|Interval time at Punt & Dennis|
On Thursday, I went up to Middlesbrough Theatre to see Punt & Dennis’ new show, “They Should Get Out More”. Brian Logan’s Guardian review wasn’t particularly kind to them, though I suspect this has rather more to do with Logan than Punt and Dennis. And besides, he rather misses the point. Steve and Hugh are quite cosy. They’ve been together a long time now and have a format that largely works and plays to an audience that contains the likes of me. That said, the age spread of the audience was pretty wide, with lots of late-teen, early 20’s types kicking around. Of the two, Punt is clearly the less comfortable on stage, so he leaves most of the more obvious performance elements to Dennis. Ok, it’s hardly at the bleeding edge, but it is funny, which is the most important thing. The finale is a great sketch with Dennis playing a drunk wine taster on a TV wine show (think Oz Clarke after three or four bottles), a character I’ve seen before, but enjoyed finally seeing on stage.And then, finally, last night, down to Scarborough to check out Count Arthur Strong. I’ve been listening to the radio shows for a few years now, a convert after hearing clips on various shows beforehand. I was hoping that he wouldn’t prove to be a let-down. I needn’t have worried, though the Spa Theatre wasn’t quite as full as I’d hoped, which flattened the atmosphere just a touch. Steve Delaney‘s monstrous creation, on the other hand, was sensational. The two riffs on ‘Michaels’ (there were recurring references to Michael McIntyre through the show too) and his version of Deck of Cards alone were worth the admission fee for me. The cookery segment was something that had appeared in the radio show, but was all the nicer for having seen it done live. Though his supporting cast are more than able, Delaney himself is a masterful character actor, and Arthur’s tics and ever more spiralling rants are the real centre of proceedings.A great show, and a real coup for Coastival to have got him there: congratulations to all.