Count Arthur Strong: The Musical?

DVD review

Simply pointing a camera at bewildered theatrical duffer Count Arthur Strong can’t possibly do justice to the man’s gibbering insanity.

Steve Delaney’s geriatric creation is a seething mess of physical and mental clumsiness, mirthful malapropisms and Tourettic tics, whose pride forbids him from ever conceding fallibility, even as his world crashes around him,

This show, which he performed at the 2006 Edinburgh fringe, focuses on a typically shambolic attempt to stage a musical of his life. The premise is that the audience are potential ‘angels’ whom he is trying to persuade to invest in his West End folly. ‘Tonight isn’t about me,’ he explains at one point. ‘It’s about a musical abut me…’

The script is frequently witty, but it takes time to build up the house of cards around the Count; requiring a patience that it’s easier to find in a theatre than sat at home, with distractions all around. When all the wheels do come flying off his self-aggrandising venture, the effect is hilarious, but the pace of Strong’s bungling is too slow in the early stages.

However, there are some mighty fine set pieces along the way, such as the piccalilli taste test, his fumbled attempt at talking to ‘himself’ in the mirror and his brilliantly daft take on Eminem, plus some engaging running gags, such as his bitter feud with the theatre critic of the Doncaster Recorder. Kudos must also go to his foils: Terry Kilkenny as his put-upon stagehand-cum-supporting artiste Malcolm and Anthony Marcari, valiantly providing musical accompaniment.

It’s a decent DVD, but no substitute for seeing him live, or even hearing the delightfully strange Radio 4 shows, which are also out on CD and benefit from a brisker half-hour running time.
Sample joke:‘If they haven't got any Jaffa Cakes, get some Mussolinis.... Garibalidis!’
No clips availabke
Extras: Just a two-minute behind-the-scenes segment
Recorded at: Komedia, Brighton
To buy:

Main show running time: 73 mins
Certificate: PG

Release date: October 20, 2008

RRP: £11.98

Published: 24 Dec 2008

We see you are using AdBlocker software. Chortle relies on advertisers to fund this website so it’s free for you, so we would ask that you disable it for this site. Our ads are non-intrusive and relevant. Help keep Chortle viable.