Rock of Ages

Note: This review is from 2002

Review by Steve Bennett

Though the swanky auditorium of the Traverse Theatre isn't the best venue for some low-down-and -dirty blues, these two old-timers, and their backing band, provide an atmospheric end to a hard day's fringe-going.

You always know what you're going to get with Barry Cryer - dusty old gags told with deadpan delight. And he doesn't disappoint his aging fan base tonight by risking anything too unfamiliar.

So, perhaps uniquely for a music gig, here it's easier to join in with the gags than the tunes.

That's a little unfair, as there are a few jokes you may not of heard before - and real corkers they are too.

But most of the comedy is strictly old-school in its best sense. In fact, one joke is so old it's in Latin. Honestly.

The only question mark is what anyone under 30 will understand of a frame of reference that includes the likes of Andy Stewart, Oswald Mosley and Roy Jenkins.

And if the gags are patchy, the same goes for the songs - which prove most effective either when they are done straight, or not trying too hard to be funny.

Let's Have Sex, I'll Love You Later, for example, is a great song with a witty central theme but no gags, and all the better for it. A paean to the joys of a Stannah stairlift, on the other hand, turns out to be as creaky as one of their less well-oiled models.

And it has to be said that proceedings wane a little whenever Cryer is not on stage - though it's not such a terrible state of affairs as one woman believed, barging out in anger because she'd paid to see the silver-haired gagsmith.

Ronnie Golden's an accomplished musician and a decent comic - but, let's face it, he's no Barry Cryer (who, incidentally, also turns out to be a pretty mean scatman).

This is a warm and easy-going night from those who are 'glad to be grey'. Or, as Cryer puts it, not Iggy Pop but Iggy Grandpop.

Review date: 1 Jan 2002
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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