French And Saunders Live

Note: This review is from 2000

Review by Steve Bennett

A decade is a long time to be away from the stage.

Ten years of TV success automatically ensure the Sold Out signs go up on Britain's biggest theatres when French and Saunders are in town, but entertaining a live audience is a different proposition from a nation sofa spuds.

It's a fact the pair have acknowledged, bringing a lot of theatrical wizardry to their new show. The irony is that this results in fans coming to see their TV idols in the flesh, actually spend a lot of time watching them on giant screens. And it's telling that the funniest material on offer in this show takes place on screen, rather than on stage.

Dawn and Jennifer are sometimes too self-indulgent, but then they always were, and sometimes just plain unfunny - a couple of sketches revolving around a needlessly stressed middle-class housewife falling particularly flat. At their best, however, they are simply hilarious - and there's plenty of that on show here. An admittedly puerile, but very effective, game of rude Pokemon; a piss-take on the vacuous showbiz reporting of 'PMtv' and Dawn's portrayal of an intense modern artist were all highlights.

Add some silly, and occasionally inspired, moments of slapstick and the general likeability off the two performers and you have the ingredients of a genuinely entertaining evening, with the hits far overwhelming the misses. This live show could be enough to turn a sceptic into a fan - if the near £30 price of a ticket doesn't put them off.

Steve Bennett
Hammersmith
2000

Review date: 1 Jan 2000
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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