Comic travels down memory lane in show
Funnyman Lenny Henry set for Aberdeen gig
ALL Lenny Henry wanted after a tough couple of years in his private life was to do a stand-up show that wasn't personal. After considering different options, he came up with the idea of a comedy show about one of his biggest passions – music. However, he quickly realised that there was no way to spotlight the subject without linking it to his past. Lenny is looking forward to bringing his profoundly personal show “Cradle To Rave: A Musical Journey” to Aberdeen later this month, despite the fact his co-stars on The Magicians, Barry Jones and Stuart Macleod, failed to give him any tips on the Granite City. The 52-year-old actor, writer, comedian and TV presenter said: “The last couple of years have been, shall we say, weird for me and with this show I really didn't want to talk about anything too personal but that’s not the way it’s turned out. “I started off researching the history of music but I was quickly told that I had to talk about what kind of music I listened to when I was growing up, what kind of music has influenced me and what kind of music my family liked. “I realised you can talk about everything and tie it into your love of music, so the show comes from a very strong secure place. “It’s an autobiographical stand-up show with music and a band-shaped surprise. I may even do a little singing too.” Lenny is bringing the show to the Music Hall on April 19. And while he thought the North-east magicians Barry and Stuart were great to work with, they failed to share any tips about their home territory. “Sadly, I didn't get any tips from Barry and Stuart about Aberdeen even though it is their neck of the woods,” he said. “Since the show I’ve not heard a peep out of them. “They’re like the prefects at Hogwarts that nobody talks about – they’re definitely the macabre prefects at Slytherin.” Being asked to present The Magicians was a blast from the past for Lenny. He explained: “Early on in my career I worked with Paul Daniels and I was fascinated by the sheer skill of it. I used to watch him like a hawk.” So when he got the opportunity to work with magic again, Lenny jumped at the chance. “I felt very privileged to be there with these talented guys. I got to walk on fire, I got to do a iron bar neck bend and I got smacked in the chest with a concrete slab. “Luckily, it wasn't Barry and Stuart who did that as they'd probably have followed through.” Apart from people who are keen to find out more about Lenny, “Cradle to Rave” is a show not to be missed for soul fans who fancy a trip down memory lane. And one Scottish funk band gets a lot of attention.. “The Average White Band are one of my favourites in the world,” said Lenny. “In the 1970s they were playing funk to a highly functioning level and they were even the house band for Chaka Khan’s I'm Every Woman.” Although Lenny admits the last two years have been tough, due to his split with wife Dawn French after 25 years, it was also an incredible time for him. He was cast in one of Shakespeare’s most challenging roles and rewarded with critical acclaim. “Othello was one of the major cataclysmic moments in my life,” he said. “To have my first experience in a Shakespeare play in one of the biggest roles was mindblowing. Whenever I’ve thrown myself in the deep end in the past I’ve survived. So I worked incredibly hard on it because I knew people thought I was going to be crap – the audience were expecting me to start doing impressions. “I’m still so delighted that I won the London Evening Standard Best Newcomer Award.” And after his “Cradle to Rave” tour, Lenny is going back to tackle Shakespeare in The Comedy of Errors in November at The National Theatre. “I’m absolutely bricking it,” he said. “The first time I was very immature in Shakespeare so I'm looking forward to doing it again.” Don’t miss Lenny Henry’s “Cradle to Rave: A Musical Journey” at the Music Hall on April 19.
TRUE FAVOURITE: The Average White Band. ECO-MESSAGE: ACCLAIM: Comic and actor Lenny Henry in Othello.
MAGIC: Lenny said it was a privilege to work with duo Barry and Stuart.