My parents loved Marty Feldman. Given I’m no spring chicken that tells you how far back into the recesses of black-and-white television you’d have to delve for the career and admittedly the brilliance of the bulging-eyed clown at the centre of Jeepers Creepers, who also wrote early sitcoms like Bootsie and Snudge. I had to watch in my Ladybird pyjamas because it was on after my bedtime.
Marty Feldman was a unique comedy turn who could have been a giant. His distinctive boggled eye face and wild hair set him apart visually and as a peer of some of the late 20th century comedy greats he wrote for, and performed with, the best. Jeepers Creepers, written by Robert Ross, looks at Feldman away from the stage and studio, focussing instead on the philanderer and his devoted, even if humiliated, spouse Lauretta.
Next week at the Jermyn there opens a play which is a memorial to a late-life friendship with Lucille Ball; already on the far side of the Charing Cross Road we have this; Robert Ross’ 90-minute imagining of the last years of another even more troubled comic who struggled with success, its burden on a marriage, and a frivolous persona which tended to take over.