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Show type: Melbourne 2010
Good Evening: The Sketches Of Peter Cook And Dudley Moore
Two of Australia's finest and funniest have joined forces to breath new life into the inspired sketches of Peter Cook and Dudley Moore. Irreverent, wickedly satirical and completely hilarious - the genius of Cook and Moore inspired Monty Python and the generations that followed them.
To mark his unique place in comedy history Peter Cook was invited to launch the inaugural Melbourne Comedy Festival in 1987 and later the bar at the Town Hall was named after him - comedy has no greater honour to bestow.
Cook, Moore, Curry, Micallef - it is a combination born in comedy heaven. Don't miss this unique Comedy Festival event.
Good Evening: The Sketches Of Peter Cook and Dudley Moore
Reviving the memories of dead comics has become a small industry in itself – but this latest offering makes no pretence of packaging up much-loved material into a biographical play or tender tribute.
Good Evening is, pure and simple, 90 minutes of Peter Cook and Dudley Moore’s finest sketches, restaged. It’s lovingly done, with impressive set and strong performances, but there’s no shaking the feeling that this is a rather futile exercise in recycling.
We already know the writing is exemplary, and the execution is largely faithful to the original… which means you might as well be watching a YouTube clip of, say, the legendry One-Legged Tarzan sketch as see Shaun Micallef and Stephen Curry reenact them on stage. Other celebrated scenes revisited here include EL Wisty’s ‘I could have been a judge, but never had the Latin’ monologue and the stick-in the-mud father berating his fey, boutique-owning son for not having a real job down the drains.
The wonderful Micallef could make reading a Holocaust memorial funny, so no surprise that he shines here. Cook is almost the role he was born to play – and not just because neither managed much success in their chat show careers. Tall, grey, intellectually arrogant and deliciously patronising, he evokes the spirit of the late comic genius so convincingly you might swear he was back from the dead.
Curry bears less physical similarity to Dud, but produces a similarly impressive, usually low-status, performance – and gets to show off an impressive range in his singing. The only thing he can’t do is play piano, so Andrew Patterson is drafted in for those sections, treating us to a couple of Moore’s inspired musical mash-ups, such as Little Miss Muffet as if interpreted by Benjamin Britten.
New material is largely confined to the entertaining but brief barbed banter Micallef and Curry trade between sketches to niggle each other. And one excellent if rare example of getting an extra laugh from the original scripts comes when Micallef inserts a deliciously anachronistic ‘LOL’ into one archly sarcastic rant.
One strange touch, though, is their performance of the art gallery sketch, where Pete and Dud’s nasal Dagenham drawls are replaced by polo-necked pretentiousness. It adds a rare twist to the original, but diminishes its impact – replacing the original joke that these were supposedly ill-educated people struggling to define what good art was with a lesser one about up-their-own-arse poseurs.
It goes to prove you can’t improve on the original – so it’s a riddle why anyone would try, other than for the obvious commercial appeal.
|Date of live review: Thursday 8th Apr, '10|
Review by Steve Bennett
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