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Audience with Lord Buckley
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Show type: Edinburgh Fringe 2007
Audience with Lord Buckley
Hipsters, flipsters and finger-poppin' daddies, knock him your lobes! His Royal Hipness, the world's oldest rapper, presents Willie The Shake, The Gasser and The Naz. You dug him before, re-dig him now!
Lord Buckley was a true comedy eccentric who frequented the swinging joints of jazz-era America, adopting the personality of the landed English gentry, but he hipster slang and speech patterns of the beatnicks he hung with.
Off-stage he was equally fascinating, maintaining the aristocratic pretence, living in a magnificent home and playing the perfect host, even though his finances couldn’t support the lifestyle and he died, in 1960, hugely in debt.
This brief tribute concerns itself not at all with any such biographical detail, fascinating though it may be; it’s merely a straightforward resurrection of some of Buckley’s classic routines, such as his ‘hipsemantic’ version of A Christmas Carol with all the cool lingo, or his tale about God’s Own Drunk.
The monologues are very much a product of their age, and to today’s ears they are much like the jazz they emerged from, an evocative oral soundscape, rather than a collection of gags and punchlines. Not for nothing is Lord Buckley sometimes referred to as the world’s oldest rapper.
The man bringing him to life is Bob Sinfield, a comedy writer who’s previously worked on Lenny Henry and Jasper Carrott’s TV show. Even disregarding the subject matter, this is old-time entertainment with a feel of an am-dram cabaret turn. Good am-dram, but am-dram nonetheless.
He divided the small audience in the inauspicious venue – a bland hotel bar with a black sheet barely covering the width of the ‘stage’. Youngsters seemed baffled, but a couple of older fans delighted at the faithful reproduction of the original work.
The show ran for half an hour – not the advertised 50 minutes – but that was enough. A nice blast of nostalgia for fans, but one that would have overstayed its welcome very soon, because, try as Sinfield might, this clearly is never going to be a hip Fifites hangout.
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Caught the show at Arundel, didn't know what to expect, but was pleasantly surprised, Bob S. put in a great performance. And you don't necessarily have to know who Lord Buckley was to enjoy it, either. Just sit back, relax and enjoy 45+ mins of something a bit different, eccentric, and funny. Great stuff.
A powerful and excellently sustained re-creation of a truly bizarre entertainer, a character study as much as a comedy. Eccentricity, by its nature, tends to be a bar to mass appeal but there was no doubt here of Sinfield's command of his man's strange gifts. Let's hope we see him getting under the skin of some other oddballs.