Review for Doncaster Free Press (October, 2010)
Alexander Armstrong and Ben Miller brought their comedy show to the Lyceum last week for the
of their nationwide tour. The comedy duo have found success separately (both
have ventured into acting and Armstrong has carved out a niche as a presenter)
but it is as a partnership - now into its 18th year – that the duo
remain more comfortable. The third series of their BBC sketch show airs this
autumn, but before that, there’s the matter of an ambitious 60-plus date tour,
their first time on the road since 2001.
The show opens with the duo’s most recognisable creations, the WW2 “chav” RAF pilots, who are disturbed to find themselves parachuting in to a place even worse than wartime Germany – yes, Sheffield! The airmen reappear throughout the show, proving that A&M know what the audience like, and are happy to deliver it in spades. They make the airmen not only funny but also touching in a final scene reminiscent of Powell and Pressburger’s A Matter of Life and Death,
Most of the TV show’s regular characters are transferred to the stage, generally with great success, although a sketch involving Miranda and Pru, a pair of seemingly placid old ladies whose disagreements invariably end in violence seemed a touch underdeveloped and below A&M’s usual standards; the sketch’s conclusion of the audience being pelted with buns was a bit pantomime-esque and not in good way.
The best of the sketches are saved for the second half of the show and audience participation is involved, showing the duo are just as capable of ad-libbing, as they are at scripted performances. Highlights include the marvellously silly “How many Hats?” gameshow, which basically does what it says in the title, and the brilliantly lewd Brabbins and Fyffe, the Flanders and Swann take off, who are as hilariously rude as ever
Ever the entertainers, the show concludes with a mass sing-a-long which had all the audience on their feet, concluding a thoroughly enjoyable evening’s entertainment. The performers remained behind after the show to sign autographs, proving just as personable in the flesh as they appear on screen.