Review: The Lad Himself, Gilded Balloon Teviot (Venue 14)

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An APPEALING twist on the ever-expanding “tears of a clown” genre of great comedians’ portraits, playwright Roy Smiles – creator of A Walk With The Goons and Pythonesque – delivers a suitably Galton and Simpson-esque vision of Tony Hancock’s appearance in the afterlife, waiting to be judged.

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The squat Mark Brailsford gives a lovely performance as the gifted but troubled entertainer, capturing enough of Hancock’s mannerisms and everyman irascibility to make you forget you’re not watching the real thing. Fans will enjoy the allusions to classic Hancock’s Half Hour storylines, and there are some hilarious moments – when the comedian threatens to punch God “up the bracket”, or, when being asked if he’s waited long, he replies with an exquisitely hangdog “Only most of my life”.

A series of stock characters, including a vicar, clown, world-weary charlady, dashing RAF commander and camp type pass the time with him in the hospital waiting room-like set, the latter, played by Mark Farrelly, delightfully channelling Kenneth Williams. Although touched on, Hancock’s demons and misdemeanours are skimped over slightly, and the ending wraps it all up a little conveniently. Still, it’s an enjoyable slice of nostalgia.

Until tomorrow. Today 1:30pm.