when i first moved to london and got a job right in the heart of the west end, i was sure i'd spend all my time at the theatre. with ticket touts and resellers on every corner, it's almost possible to find a bargain ticket to any show you like with not a lot of time, and yet somehow, my plan was sort of foiled. by travelling. and eating out. and alcohol *shakes fists at sky*. if not for all those things though, i'm fairly positive i could have achieved my goal. in fact, the first year i worked in the west end, i almost averaged one show a month. not quite the number i envisioned, but a good effort none-the-less.
more lately though, going to the theatre has certainly fallen by the wayside. i can count on one hand how many shows i've actually seen this year, and that kind of sucks; i do really enjoy the threatre, and i do really wish i went along more often. which is why when the offer of checking out the terry johnson's dead funny at the vaudeville theatre last week popped into my inbox, i was preeeetty quick in shouting my rsvp of yessssssssssss. i grabbed viki and we headed down last tuesday night, both pretty excited.
dead funny does what it says on the tin; it's dead funny. and it's the first show i've seen with full-on nudity, so that was something a bit special for a tuesday night (live willies on stage prove you're never really a grown up, because those giggles came from acrosssss the theatre). the play is set in '92, around the time that both benny hill and frankie howerd died. the characters are part of an english comedy-appreciation club called "the dead funny society" (apt, when we learn that their two biggest heroes both just died), that meet to commemorate the life and death of their icons, and perform some of their favourite skits.
i'm not english by birth, and i don't know who either of these comedians are; seeing these skits on the stage was the first time i'd ever seen them (assuming everyone else grew up watching them), but i still found them very funny! throughout the play we learn more about each of the character's own problems, and how they ended up there on the night of the party. from eleanor's (katherine parkinson) misery at wanting a baby and a husband who will touch her, to lisa (emily berrington) and nick's (ralf little) unhappy marriage, and poor, old, overly-mothered brian (steve pemberton), who just wants everyone to be happy, each joke or skit or "bit" is delivered with just a tinge of sadness, and lots of secrets.
katherine parkinson as eleanor, steve pemberton as brian, emily berrington as lisa, rufus jones as richard, ralf little as nick; image source: alastair muir
the performance was strong. i laughed, i sighed, i felt for the characters, and i left the theatre elated, having been able to spend the night in a gorgeous theatre, with a great friend, watching a clever show. i was a guest of stagedoor (a really handy app for you iphone users that allows you to book on the go), but i'd highly recommend the show to anyone looking for something a little different to the normal west end shows.
you can find the show at the vaudeville theatre until february 4th 2017. go go go!