An Audience With The Chuckle Brothers -
Royal Concert Hall, Nottingham
Tuesday 30th March 2010
Reviewed by Freddie Wilkinson
Here I go again with another review of a Chuckle
Brothers touring show, I haven’t done one for a while as it was starting look
like I was stalking them!
This year’s show followed a very different format to their past efforts such as “Spooky Goings On” and “Star Doors” as it was billed as “An audience with”. Gone were the scripted parodies to famous films and T.V shows, the big sets, even bigger cast and numerous backcloths. Instead we got 90 plus minutes of classic sketches, a fairly bare stage and a giant projection screen.
Reading the above back doesn’t really do the show justice as it makes it sound rubbish – trust me it isn’t! For me it gave the Brothers a chance to shine as they were doing what they do best and have done for more years than they probably care to mention.
On with the show –
It opened with a brief video montage of the Chuckles in action followed by an introduction to the entire cast, quite a nice personal touch I thought even if it did feel a little like a farewell tour.
This was followed by numerous sketches such as the job interview, the wallpaper sketch and a barber shop quartet with their older siblings the Patton Brothers. All were comedy gold, especially with me being such a huge fan of Laurel and Hardy, Abbott and Costello and Norman Wisdom.
Where else can a younger generation get to see routines like this? I know I have said it before, but they really are the last of their kind.
As ever the main draw for me was to see magic, and Chuckle Brothers regulars Safire a.k.a Stuart and Jayne Loughland certainly didn’t disappoint. Magic performed included a devilishly deceptive production of Jayne from a previously empty box with a target on the front. It’s not everyday you see a full size picture shot from a blunderbuss! Or hear a reaction from the man sat a few rows behind me of “Phwoar” I think it was for Jayne and not the blunderbuss? Then again this is Nottingham! A full size find the lady with real lady and kicker finish followed, and to close their up beat spot a slim line sawing in half which floored the young audience. Only going to prove you can’t beat the classics.
The second half opened with Safire performing their very popular UV act; how they come up with so many fresh ideas from show to show I will never know. The highlights had to be a 7 foot tall Shellfish Presley and a pod of lobsters (Thanks Wiki Answers) singing the Beyonce classic “Ring on it”.
Next up was a question and answer session with the Chuckles; whilst this was a lovely idea and brought up some great “kids thinking” questions it also lacked direction. Maybe having the questions written and dropped in a bucket during the interval would have been a help? At least that way they would have a little more control on things and could point it in the right direction if the questions aren’t coming thick and fast?
Scattered between the questions were a few video clips, and for me this was the biggest let down of the show and my only gripe. Yes they were funny clips, but all fairly recent and from their readily available DVD’s. What a great opportunity missed to show off some of their older stuff from their own archives, or the classic clip from BBC’s Good Old Days that is on You Tube Click Here
And where were the Chucklehounds? Not an appearance or even a clip? Here is a link to one anyhow - Click Here
A few kids’ games followed with one young man almost stealing the show and then to close proceedings a sing along with the entire cast, that wrapped things up nicely.
If you enjoy comedy, slapstick, magic and illusion then I urge you to go and see it. If you don’t like anything from that list then cheer up as you really should try to get out more!
An audience with the Chuckle Brothers runs until May 23rd at various venues around the U.K, and then selected dates during the summer.
More details available here www.thechucklebrothersontour.co.uk or from www.magic-of-safire.co.uk
Edited highlights from the show are available on YouTube Click Here
© Freddie Wilkinson, April 2010