Saturday, October 28, 2006

Rory Bremner impersonating Ben Elton

I went on Friday night to Teddington Studios and sat in the audience for the final Bremner, Bird and Fortune show of the current season.

On arrival, I gave my name as "Woodford" to a charming gentleman with a clipboard.

"Would you be the gorgeous Phil Woodford?" he enquired.

I replied in the affirmative.

"I love you," he said. "In fact, I love you so much that I'm going to give you one of these."

I steadied myself, not knowing quite what to expect, but was reassured when he produced a wristband that identified me as a genuine ticket-holder.

It would be churlish to say that this was one of the funnier moments of the evening. Rory Bremner is a clever man and obviously an incredibly talented impersonator. If I'm honest, however, the best bits were actually all the ad-libs and asides, rather than the pre-prepared monologues and video sketches. There's quite a lot of faffing around in these recording sessions and there's plenty of opportunity for a bit of banter with the audience when the comedian s***ws up and another take is needed. We all have to laugh again at the same gags, but somehow we don't mind.

It's the scripted satirical material that I find just a bit heavy-duty. When Bremner's attacking the government for its record on climate change, for instance, he actually shows charts and graphs of carbon dioxide emissions. It's all just a little too earnest and po-faced for my liking, although the liberal/lefty audience were clearly lapping it all up. I fear that Bremner has transformed himself into a kind of Ben Elton figure, who only really connects with people who already agree with him.

Another thing that was very noticeable was the reliance on old favourites for impersonation. We were treated to John Major, Bruce Forsythe, Billy Connolly, Chris Tarrant, Michael Howard, Jeremy Paxman etc. He does them brilliantly, but we've heard them all before.

Of course, Bremner does a very good David Cameron too. But he looks too old for the part!

There's a danger that he might become like Mike Yarwood, who always had his stock Ted Heath and Harold Wilson up his sleeve, but seemed to struggle when they faded from view and Mrs Thatcher came to power.

On the plus side, there was a very good warm-up act. And I think we were in the studio where they shoot Trisha. There was a tray that held a number of pieces of equipment including her earpiece.

1 comment:

  1. Maybe it's just as well Rory Bremner has become the new Ben Elton, as the real Ben Elton seems intent on becoming the new Tim Rice? Or Richard Stilgoe, depending on your opinion of the music of Queen.