Standing centre stage in a flamingo pink suit, his jacket undone to reveal the word sex across his white t shirt, (this wasn’t going to be for an audience of prudes, one could precariously say prunes but certainly not prudes) John Wood beckoned the strays down from the back in this intimate show at the Rondo. Already the evening of comedy was in swing as he made light of the obvious need to be closer so this prime audience could see and hear (hence the bright attire?), which it turns out was probably just as much for the performers as the audience.
I had forgotten to bring my Werthers Originals (the suggested confectionary of choice) but I did have my old head on young shoulders to see me through. What unravelled was a sweet delight of stand up poetry, performed by an ensemble of John Wood, David Johnson, Trevor Carter and Mike Scott. Their captivating use of the English language brought us anecdotes about pension schemes, dentures, curtains, Alzheimer’s, golf and the ever changing fashion of ladies hair, and they weren’t talking about on their heads. The immature limericks, and I must mention Count Tittycumcum, raised the heartier laughs, even in the company of this mature audience.
The successive poems were refreshingly sung by the far from dull Mike Scott. Introduced as the Bob Dylan of Bradford upon Avon, accompanied by a guitar he treated us to his musical genius, sharing his amusing tales of childhood and affirming that we all love nostalgia.
Occasionally the topic wandered from the garden path and the collective theme of aging gracefully but like so often when we forget what it is was we were saying we suddenly remember and it comes back around again. There was moments when a line or two were forgotten here or there, a quick dash behind the curtain for the weak bladder that need to be relieved; a tall story or not it echoed the show wonderfully. For these talented men, this isn’t a job (they are after all pensioners!) this is a craft and one they have mastered spectacularly.
Where there’s tea there’s hope (I had mine in the interval!) hope of a smooth second half and along it came in fine form as a sharply crafted sing song bringing the evening to a close, and these four gentlemen together on stage for the first time. After all isn’t that what all we want, a fine way to go out?
There was a touch of guilt that I was the youngest in the room but this turned out to be my guilty pleasure.