Steve Coogan Is Alan Partridge, Other Less Successful Characters
Alex Skinner 31/10/2008
With an array of comedy characters and a biblical tour having more dates than you could shake a massive stick at (40 dates in total), things start to fall flat. Why? Coogan is back amongst the stand-up pressure cooker with huge expectations from a vastly appreciative fan base. That said, he is a pro in the game so it's a joy to behold any way you look at it.
Pauline Calf starts off with getting the audience moist, easing into the supple show gently. Pauline is great as he/she makes an amicable start that shows the dazzling capabilities of a well executed comedy character.
Early on, weak interludes spoil proceedings after the first song and dance commence. The introduction of nervous support actor 'Welsh arts council guy' was abysmally off-putting. Missing the mark, it stepped on the toes of an old Duncan Thicket sketch (est. 1994 showing bumbling nervousness). Luckily, this acted only as a brief distraction as do all of the painful interludes.
Duncan Thicket was next, who is great on many different levels. He is supposed to be so unfunny, it is funny. It outdoes other comedians who are similar or who play on over self deprecation. Although it was nice to see, an opportunity was lost. Ideally you need a big Tony Ferrino in this part. Again, more hoopla with another song as a finish for the character that Ferrino could pull off with ease.
Friends, I share with YOU Mr. Tony Ferrino:
Tommy Saxondale is the most recent comedy icon to be seen on stage, this was more like it and Coogan did him justice. The pacing between the lines seemed much more refined. You could tell some audience members were weary as maybe they had not seen Tommy before, especially on stage.
As far as the supporting cast, Alice Lee (Liz Asher of Garth Merenghi fame) proved best with a 'God and the Devil' sketch whereby the two act out a relationship issue and God is wooed by the Devil. One of the problems with the show was the weak interludes, leaving the mustard uncut.
Paul Calf rolled on with a Stephen Hawking style wheelchair, Paul graced our presence with some great lines: 'The universe is f****** massive'. Weaving tales of a drunken waster, Calf epitomizes the working class followed by another song 'Red Headed Gypsy Lover'. It is the most impressive singing performance that plays with a gypsy way of life (like dogs on string and caravan living).
Because I like you all, please enjoy this classic clip of 'Three fights, Two Weddings and a Funeral'.
The Interlude at the half way mark served as a gathering of thoughts before the symposium of Alan Partridge, the iconic British comedy figure. Holes seemed to be apparent in Coogan's initial delivery of the 'A-HA' catch phrase, whereby he repeated it over and over to make a point about the nature of the fans' favourite, stating 'Is that what you want?!'. This section was truly great to behold, morphing as it did into a motivational speaker, and a presentation was offered along with a comedy video, as seen in previous Coogan comedy show 'The Man Who Thinks He's It' (1998). A Partridge musical medley could have been fully utilized here. Overall it lead nowhere but, remained a true joy to behold.
The rest of the show was down hill. So much and so fast there is G force. Maybe a tad dramatic but I shall tell you why: after the Alan Partridge section there is a cross over into a Thomas Moore/ Henry the Eighth sketch. It was clearly not needed as it was apparent that this was a filler piece. The effort and structure lacked, and swayed into the realms of confusion. It was rushed, seeming heavily forced.
Towards the end of this debacle Steve Cogan finished the show as a 'Steve Coogan' character, crafting a song around being labeled a 'C***'. The 'Everyone's a Bit of a C*** Sometimes' song was belted out. This was uncalled for as he blatantly called his adoring public a bunch of c****, literally! If this is Coogan a message to his naysayers, you must ask why he cares?