23 November 2014

Freddie at the Memorial Theatre, Broadstairs

For those who weren't lucky enough to be there in person, Freddie was in great form at the Memorial Theatre in Broadstairs last night. As cowriter of his autobiography Funny Bones I can hardly write an unbiased review, but seeing as how Michael Billington was inexplicably absent from the proceedings here are a few notes about the show - which was, as they say, a game of two halves.

First Freddie reminisced about his career with clips of himself and others (including his comedian grandad Jack, above) and mused on the meaning of the term "funny bones." This was Freddie in relaxed, informal mode: "I've got to perform in the second half," he tried to grumble at one point - but couldn't fool himself, let alone us, for more than a nanosecond.

After the interval, with a three piece band including Danny La Rue's MD David Carter on keyboard and Freddie's son Kent on drums, it was straight into Samuel Tweet, and when Freddie walked onstage in the famed homburg I was reminded of what he said in a recent radio interview, that when comedians perform they magically revert to whatever age they were when they first performed a routine. 

That was certainly the effect last night, and there was much capering about during the songs, as though Freddie had wolfed down a family pack of Haribo in the wings ... which isn't too bad for a seventy seven year old. 

Those who have read the book will be tickled to know there was also one lovely moment when, mounting the stage, he fell upstairs, just as he had seen Professor Sparks' son do all those years ago at the Salford Hippodrome. 

Freddie then went forward in time a little, but only a little, by treating us to a bit of magic, along with a hilarious recreation of an operation done entirely through mime ... As Martin Kelner has recently said, the man is "a living history of variety in the UK." (The above image is of Professor Sparks and his wife.)

This was, Freddie told us at the end, a special night for him, as it was the first time he had performed a full length version of this show after a few tryouts of sections. And tonight - but too late for anyone reading this unless you happen to be passing the hall right now - he's doing it all over again at St Mary's Bay Village Hall, an event sponsored by Channel Radio.

Freddie hopes to do more shows next year so watch this blog for news of any visitations to your area. If he does, it's a Tweet you'd be silly to miss.

Buy Freddie Davies's autobiography Funny Bones from amazon (paperback) or direct from Scratching Shed Publishing (paperback or limited edition hardback)