Severn Theatre, Shrewsbury – until 4 February 2017
Memories of Tommy Cooper conjure up one solitary catch phrase ‘Just Like That’ and of course there’s the fez, not to be forgotten! Do you know why the popular comedian (who met a tragic end on stage doing what he loved best) wore a fez? Well, The Tommy Cooper Show which stars Daniel Taylor as the man himself and Sharon Byatt as his wife, Gwen, reveals a selection of fascinating facts about Cooper’s life whilst entertaining the audience with familiar gags and tricks.
To resurrect a legend is no mean feat, yet shut your eyes while you listen to Taylor performing and you would be convinced that you were watching the man himself or indeed somebody had turned on the television. Not only does he have the voice with all of the correct emphasis and nuances, but the mannerisms. Notably, what he does with his hands, I had always wondered when watching Mr Cooper in action, if his hand twitching was due to nerves or something that he consciously did. Whatever the reason, Taylor authenticated the performance, for me, by adding that vital detail.
Sharon Byatt was a good match for the role of Gwen, Tommy’s wife – and I was mightily impressed with her vocal ability. There was a natural chemistry between Taylor and Byatt which made for a believable on-stage relationship, so important when you’re playing a real life husband and wife team.
All of the old favourites and props were in the show, from the duck picking a card, to the little gate that he entered an exited through, to the jar and spoon. In short, the comedian’s television shows were brought to life in a resplendent live theatre experience and it was a glorious treat of an experience. I would happily return to watch this again and again.