Duncan Norvelle – Original Review | Review by Steve Bennett

Duncan Norvelle – Original Review

Note: This review is from 2007

Review by Steve Bennett

Duncan Norvelle is a name that won't mean much to a lot of people. Add his catchphrase, 'chase me', and a lot more memories will be jogged.

He was one of those oddities of light entertainment. Briefly, ubiquitously famous, popping up in his safari suit to deliver his ultra-camp cry on every variety show going, before disappearing to obscurity with his national catchphrase. Is he bovvered? It's hard to tell. Norvelle's continued to work, now boasting 33 years in the business - though don't expect to see him at too many modern clubs.

He minces on – and that really is the only word – to Teddy Bear's Picnic, skips gaily across the stage with a couple of unwilling volunteers, then encourages one to chase him backstage. Is that his entire act over in three minutes?

Well, it's a fair sample. But he banters away for the full set with a barrage of gags, that John Inman-camp knocking the edge of some of the cruder knob jokes, turning them cheeky rather than crude. Again the problem is that you'll have heard all the material before, but Norvelle can certainly work a room – even one like this, that he doesn't consider his natural habitat. But that he can still do it is proof that the core skills o comedy are unchanging. Is his style really so different from Alan Carr's?

Norvelle, still looking youthful but now in tailored suit rather than camp costume, is also an impressionist, it says on his CV. His subjects date him, mind: James Stewart, John Wayne, Kirk Douglas… The joke is not so much in the impressions – imagine Paul Daniels as Phantom Of The Opera! – but in his struggle to get into character.

For all the old nonsense, Norvelle exudes an infectious sense of fun. The man's a showman, and you can't fault that.

Review date: 25 Oct 2007
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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