WELL, they just wouldn’t let it lie. Having spent the first 15 years of the 21st century away from the live arena, and with a series of small screen setbacks under their belts (the canning of Shooting Stars, the ditching of House Of Fools and the online catastrophe that was their ill-titled Afternoon Delights), Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer chose a relatively safe set for their 25th anniversary tour.
25 Years of Reeves and Mortimer | Rating: *** | Edinburgh Playhouse
Other than some warm-up chat about Mortimer’s recent health scare (resulting in a triple heart bypass), the pair stuck rigidly to a collection of bits and skits revolving around their greatest moments. Fans of the duo’s Channel 4 TV debut, Big Night Out, must’ve been in quasi- surrealist heaven on being treated to The Man With The Stick, Novelty Island and Judge Nutmeg, while other illogical gems were plucked largely from the Shooting Stars and Smell Of Reeves And Mortimer back-catalogues. Apart from one up-for-it man who was dragged out of the audience to help coo down the Dove From Above, the only other contributions were provided by a typically verbose Matt Berry voiceover and Ulrika Jonsson hamming it up in an updated video version of the classic Geordie Jeans.
It’s difficult to gauge precisely how much pleasure could possibly be taken now by someone arriving at Vic ‘n’ Bob completely fresh, but even the hardcore must surely have winced at the casual xenophobia in Vic’s portrayal of a Japanese plastic surgeon (yes, he lives in that famous Yorkshire city of “Reeds”). And the shortest curtain call in showbusiness history had many punters wondering when the final punchline was coming.