Tales from Peck­ham make for a jolly boys’ night out

Gloucestershire Echo - - REVIEWS - Martin Kirby

MANY ac­tors are not very good at por­tray­ing them­selves or talk­ing about the parts that made them fa­mous.

John Chal­lis does not fall into ei­ther cat­e­gory.

He is fully aware that with­out Boy­cie, he would have been just an­other job­bing ac­tor.

Six decades of ex­pe­ri­ence in­cluded count­less ap­pear­ances on TV and stage in the UK and Broad­way.

But he is known as Boy­cie in Only Fools and Horses and his one-man show in­volves many tales from his time in the series.

In such a large venue as the Town Hall it’s dif­fi­cult to achieve the tar­geted in­ti­macy but with just a large screen for com­pany he brought to life sto­ries from his long ca­reer. The first half was less than glam­orous, given over to school days and mun­dane jobs. But when the fa­mous Boy­cie laugh and Cock­ney ac­cent kicked in, it was just what the crowd had come for. John was very en­gag­ing and re­vealed the suc­cess of Only Fools was due to a tech­ni­cian’s strike at the BBC.

The first series hadn’t been well re­ceived and was un­likely to be recom­mis­sioned but the strike made re­peats nec­es­sary and it reached a wider au­di­ence the sec­ond time around.

The show con­cluded with a ques­tion and an­swer ses­sion and af­ter­wards the op­por­tu­nity to meet the man him­self.

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