Ticketmaster Summer in Stages

Round the Horne

Revisited by Brian Cooke
The Venue
(2004)

This show cannot fail. Like The Play What I Wrote, it takes a show deep within the nation's psyche and replicates an almost perfect version of it on stage

The audience will almost inevitably be older than average as the radio show was broadcast in the mid 1960s, although it has been revived since. It may also win a new younger audience.

Round the Horne always specialised in corny jokes and double entendres and can be seen as both a successor to ITMA and Hancock's Half Hour and influence on much radio and TV comedy ever since.

The play consists of two reconstructed editions of Round the Horne containing some of the very best sketches. There are few surprises but the good news is that much of the comedy is still exceptionally funny and it has dated gracefully.

All of the old favourites are there, with unbelievably camp pair Julian and his friend Sandy, Rambling Syd Rumpo, J. Peasmold Gruntfuttock and Australian Judy Coolibah to the fore.

The performances are good with Jonathan Rigby the star as "ringmaster" Kenneth Horne. He both sounds uncannily like the suave Horne and shares his gift for great comic timing.

The most familiar figure today is Carry On star Kenneth Williams, a man impossible to imitate - but Robin Sebastian does a pretty good job.

The quickfire gags with their love of language are the best and the second act after the interval with its long sketches lacks the pace that had built up earlier. There is also a new sketch written for this show which proves that the original scripts are inimitable.

Most people will know that they will love this show before they book and they will not be disappointed.

Reviewer: Philip Fisher