Gilded Balloon Caves, Edinburgh
August, 2002

** Stream of undramatic reminiscences from dead character actor

Ian Watt's show tells us a few new things about Dad's Army's Frazer and the actor who played him, but nothing that we needed to know.

Frankly, the only theatrical thing about the show is that Watt is pretending to be somebody else. There's no action: most of the time he simply paces slowly across the stage, making swept-arm gestures. There's no dramatic dynamic: he may have captured Laurie's accent, but after the first five minutes of the hour-long piece it gets wearing to hear every sentence delivered in the same Caledonian cadence pattern.

Laurie had a remarkable life: he saw action at the Somme, played Hamlet at the Old Vic and worked with Hitchcock before his career experienced an Indian summer thanks to one of Britain's favourite TV series ever. But just standing there and telling us about it doesn't make for prime entertainment: it might as well be a talking book up there in olive Home Guard battledress.

Written for

Copyright © Ian Shuttleworth; all rights reserved.

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