Daniel Taylor Productions' The Tommy Cooper Show.

The Tommy Cooper Show The Walker Theatre Friday 30 & 31 January (Saturday Matinee) As a theatre goer one learns early that if a show has been a success on the Edinburgh Fringe, the chances are it is likely to be something a little bit special. Daniel Taylor’s, The Tommy Cooper Show, is no exception to the rule. In fact, this show goes further than that.

This is a show written and performed by a genius. A must see show, a show that in time will probably become the definitive account of the Comic Magician, Tommy Cooper’s, life.

Keeping the set simple, it didn’t amount to much more than a gate, a table of props and a barrel of hats; the real theatre lay in the stunning performances of the three players, Daniel Taylor, Sharon Byatt and Gareth Jones (The artist formerly known as Gaz Top). Timing, gesture, movement and pathos saw the three of them retelling the story of the simple clown that we all laughed with in bygone times. Every nuance and every beautifully executed movment became the ingredients of a very special evening.

If you have never seen Tommy Cooper, Daniel Taylor’s beautifully observed characterisation will leave in you in no doubt that the man must have been quite an entertainer. The script consisting of key moments in Cooper’s career blended with a plethora of hilarious one liners , had the audience offering gales of laughter from the off. Cooper is shown to be a man that needed help, needed love and needed guidance. Unashamedly he appeared as just an ordinary guy who despite his own lack of belief, cracked it into the big time.

And how we Brits love common man done good. With just a slight intimation of Cooper’s drinking, the show does nothing to tarnish the reputation of the former star, in fact quite the reverse. One couldn’t help but love the man. He was a clown and in a world that can be very harsh and very cruel, we all sometimes need a break, he offered that.

Variety may be over, the golden age of the big variety stars may be but a candle long since snuffed. But the humanity that emits from the spirit of Tommy Cooper goes a long way to suggest that with the new slick, sophisticated, plasticised celebrities of today, we have thrown the baby out with the bath water as we closed thatres all over the country and pulled the wonderful Music Halls. Admittedly Cooper was a Television made star but his act lay deep rooted in a theatre style that was soon to be forgotten. Did we all lose something? I think perhaps we did.

This is a five star review.

Owen Lewis

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Owen Lewis Owen Lewis

Owen Lewis was born fifty something years ago in the land of the black puddings. For the geographically challenged that is in Lancashire. Moving to Shropshire From 1970 Owen was brought up in Church Stretton. His first real job was in radio. After starting on BBC Radio Shropshire he became known on Marcher Sound, broadcasting throughout the North West for several years. After a university degree course in Theatre, Owen became an actor and went on to play "Pirate Bill" in The Alton Towers Hotel. He also made several television appearances. Returning to university he took his PGCE enabling him to teach. That saw him on the Essex coast as a drama teacher and latterly as a Creative Educational Liaison Officer making films and creating new teaching methods to employ on children in need of more help in their fundamental learning skills. Published playwright Owen ultimately wants a house boat in Amsterdam to focus on his work as Playwright and Poet.

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