Very funny. Very funny indeed. Sponditious, even. Lots of brilliant visual gags, and a non-stop rapid-fire machine-gun assault of (purposefully groanful) vocal gags. I got my hopes up about the special guest - could we really be getting Ian McKellen? Not quite - special guest star of the night was Brian Conley (cue my dad, sitting bemused in the audience - "Who's Brian Conley?"). Heh! "It's a puppet..."
A very good night. And it really brought it home to me how damaging the dimming of the "light" in "entertainment" in this country has been to "entertainment" in general. "!" Yes, stand-up comedy is in very fine fettle, both sharp and insightful (give-or-take the odd comedy terrorist) and the mirthful ripples it has cast have been far-reaching in the rest of British culture. But we no longer have a true equivalent of Morecambe and Wise or the Two Ronnies, entertainment for young and old, thickies and intelligensia. Instead we've got Ant and Dec (who I can't knock without setting myself up for a public lynching - its sacrament to blasphemy, diamond geezers that they are, and very funny and spontaneous, etc. Though maybe we do grant them too easy a easy ride - its like, "weren't they in Byker Grove on kid's TV, weren't they PJ and Duncan, no, wait a moment, they've made me laugh - they must be comedy geniuses." Nope, they're good (lets face it, they sang comedy classics such as "Our Radio Rocks, Krazy Kats and Lets Get Ready to Rumble" during their two-straight-men phase). But they're not that good. Still a damn sight better than Little & Large, Cannon & Ball, and the rest of the light entertainment chancers from yesteryear. End of double-parentheses.) Now, Reeves and Mortimer - when are they going to be accepted as our saviours...
Enough rambling, back to The Play. I don't think I've laughed out loud as much whilst sober in a theatre. Which is always a good sign. Go see it. Unless you live abroad, or they've stopped touring it, or something.
Footnote. I don't know how this tidal-wave of culture has broken across my bows the last few months. I visited the theatre last night. Sunday night I nearly went to see a solo piano performance - admittedly it would have been Christopher O'Riley playing Radiohead, but still, its a classical concert all the same, even if I didn't quite make it (samples on the website, Head-fans). A few weeks ago I even saw my first Woody Allen film (The Purple Rose Of Cairo - very funny, very clever, very very.) I'll be changing my name to Artsbuck before we know it, and pretencing on Newsnight Review. About the bleedin' Matrix.