Yesterday evening we went to see Barry Cryer perform at The Palace Theatre in Redditch. Barry is probably best know now for his utterances on Radio 4's I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue but he has spent the best part of 50 years writing material for, and working with, some of the biggest names in British Comedy. As a result he has a huge amount of material and anecdotes to draw from and that was how his set was assembled.
Basically he used the alphabet as his framework, going from A through to Z, reeling off jokes, stories and songs associated with each letter. He was joined on stage by pianist Colin Sell who is also a regular on "I'm Sorry ...". It was a great evening in a real gem of a Theatre.
I am no great fan of Redditch and this was my first visit to The Palace. It was a delight. It is a tiny venue seating an audience of maybe 400 people and it's diminutive stature means that it is very intimate. It dates back to just before the first World War and has recently been refurbished and provided with a modern glass fronted entrance. Prior to this encounter I would have said that there was absolutely no reason to visit Redditch. I can now think of one very good one.
Barry was very good and it was a shame that there were so many empty seats. A chap sat next to us in the front row had booked less than 24 hours before the show and there were 350 seats available including a number in the front row of the stalls. Mind you , if you have ever visited Redditch, the lack of Radio 4 listeners in the general populace will come as absolute no surprise.
It is probably worth mentioning that many of the jokes were older than 30% or me and it was interesting to see TP roaring with laughter at a Comedian who is nearly as old as his Grand Father. I thought Barry might be seen as a bit "past it" by TP but it just goes to show what I know.
A consequence of Barry's age is that this was described as a "sit down" rather than a "stand up" routine. Mind you the old devil did get up just before the interval for a couple of numbers sung to a different tune. This included the Laughing Policemen sung to the Dam Busters March and My Old Man's a Dustman sung to the melody of Heartbreak Hotel.
All in all it was a fab night out and the venue added to the experience giving it an old Music Hall feel.