Count Arthur Strong is Alive and Unplugged
Gala Theatre Durham
Wednesday 6 June 2018
It was with a homage to the late Bruce Forsyth that Count Arthur Strong came onstage and we were treat to the brilliance of the character created by Steve Delaney
Count Arthur Strong, an elderly pompous easily confused and distracted, mainly out of work old variety star and thespian from Doncaster was created in the 1980’s, he was introduced to the comedy circuit in the late 90’s which saw him make numerous appearances at Edinburgh Fringe. He had his own Radio 4 show for 7 years and then the character was reimagined for the BBC tv series’ which followed.
His live theatre shows in the past have sometimes seen him performing with other actors but last night it was him alone. The show was a mix of a very Count Arthur Strong style 1950s sci fi B movie that he of course starred in (shown in installments throughout the evening) and during the night's performance very few props were needed (a glass of gin, erm water never far away) a live audition, some not very well thought out money making schemes and lots of storytelling ensued with lots of clever use of word play (I'm sure the word spoonerisms was invented was Count Arthur in mind)
It's his nuances, the mannerisms the facial expressions and the ability to stay in such a strong character superbly that makes his show so great. It never felt unbelievable or that a part was being played. It was very funny, hilarious often and warm. I smiled and laughed throughout along with the rest of the packed theatre.
Even though I felt a little eeeek when he brought out a ventriloquist dummy (those along with clowns I find unsettling, probably after watching too many horror films) I felt lucky in that I had front row tickets so could see up close all that makes Count Arthur Strong what he is and the character was certainly brought alive with great aplomb (not the dummy, but Count Arthur Strong)
The show is on throughout June at various locations in the UK. I strongly recommend going to see it if you are able.