Confrontational comic on tour
to find out for myself what it’s really like.” And he liked what he found.
“One thing you don’t necessarily see is how hard people work, everyone goes to acting classes and they all want to improve their craft.”
As well as acting he’s been busily involved in Timewave, an international theatre festival that fuses art and technology, due to take place next June.
“As an actor you have to have something else going on for your own sanity. Someone once told me, ‘don’t ask what the industry can do for you, ask what you can do the for the industry’ and that’s kind of my philosophy. It’s not about me sitting waiting for the phone to ring, it’s about me going out and making things happen.”
One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show, West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds, from November 1 to 5. I GREW up with Laurel and Hardy. It was largely against my will. My brother was six years older and saw it as something of a personal mission to make me love Way Out West the same way he did. Something must have rubbed off because, while I never quite understood what was so funny about a fat man getting his head caught in a window, on seeing Martin Barrass and Andre Vincent in the duo’s bowler hats, memories of bank holiday double bills and a warm feeling returned.
In Tom Mcgrath’s play, Laurel and Hardy are in heaven’s waiting room, looking back at where they came from, their success and their friendship. Happily there is also a step ladder and a few buckets of paint to help them recreate some of their most famous scenes.
It’s impossible to get even close to their dexterity on stage. Barrass and Vincent, who is a degree more convincing as Ollie, give it a good stab and the play benefits from a much-needed injection of darkness in the second half. Here, Laurel and Hardy move towards that fateful year of 1940 when they parted company with the producer Hal Roach and tried to make it on their own. It didn’t work, the big studios wanted new talent. Laurel and Hardy were old, they were out of date and needed to be consigned to history.
There are better plays inspired by the giants of comedy, but as a tribute to one of the greatest double acts ever, this is a fitting one.
To November 5. THERE were considerably fewer laughs among the audience of York Theatre Royal’s other production. Blackbird is the story of one couple’s relationship. He was lonely, she was infatuated and for a while they thought they would be together for ever.
So far, so normal. Except here, the man was 40 and the woman not a woman at all, but a 12-year-old girl. Fast forward 15 years and Una has grown up and is ready to confront Peter, the man who abused her.
He served his time in jail and has reinvented himself as Ray, a middle manager in a factory with an apparently settled homelife, but now he is forced to confront his past.
Essentially a two-hander, Charlie Covell and George Costigan are both entirely convincing as the young woman unable to escape her childhood and the middleaged man still convinced he did nothing wrong.
Blackbird is an uncomfortable watch. Una still harbours feelings for the man her parents and the judge said had abused her and despite protestations to the contrary, Ray has not forgotten her either.
With all action taking place in the litter-strewn factory staff room, Pilot Theatre’s director, Katie Posner, creates an atmosphere of claustrophobia from which there is no escape for either the characters of the audience.
Blackbird is not an easy night out, but as a challenging piece of theatre it more than delivers.
To November 12. Tickets for both shows on 01904 01904 62356 or online at www.yorktheatreroyal.co.uk FOR the first time in more than two decades, comedian and close-up magician Jerry Sadowitz is embarking on a UK tour.
Born in New Jersey, but raised in Glasgow, Sadowitz, who first began attracting attention in the 1980s, is known for his confrontational, controversial and often divisive performances.
The show comes to York Grand Opera House on November 1, 0844 499 9999; Leeds City Varieties on November 4, 08456 441881; Hull Truck Theatre on November 21, 01482 323638.
DOUBLE ACT: Martin Barrass and Andre Vincent recreate some of the magic moments from the movie career of Laurel and Hardy.