Phone Book Live!

Note: This review is from 2006

Review by Steve Bennett

This is a straightforward 'does what it says on the tin' show. An actor or comic tests whether they are have enough talent to read out the phone book and still make it entertaining.

There are three parts to the proceedings, a brief interview, the reading, then an auction of a signed copy of the directory for Childline, which actually only leaves time for half a dozen or so names from the list, depending on how it's done.

The guest tonight was Les Dennis; and after a brief phone-related anecdote from his youth in Liverpool, came the big challenge. And no prizes for guessing which soap-opera voice he chose to read in.

Alternating with Mavis Riley was a Marlon Brando Vito Corleone impression ­ and, yes, he got laughs in both guises. It's all about timing and expectant pauses, which Dennis nailed perfectly.

As a show, it's utterly inconsequential, and that's the problem. It barely seems worth the effort of showing up for a flimsy 15-minute show, even for charity.

But the phone book idea is good, and it would be perfect to incorporate into something else, perhaps one of those Nicholas Parson/Mervyn Stutter daytime showcases of festival highlights, rather than trying to stand up in its own right.

Steve Bennett


Review date: 1 Jan 2006
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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