An avowedly old-fashioned sort of show, this. Skiffle, as they point out, was a long time ago, and didn’t last long – though they and most of the audience demographic look as though they would remember it (your critic not excepted). But unlike old-time skiffle outfits, with their sketchy array of partly home-made instruments, and stage costume no more adventurous than the odd duffle coat, the Phils are a riot of colour, with innumerable changes of ridiculous sub-clown costumes throughout ( including the absolutely least erotic striptease the world has ever seen). And the array of instruments is colossal. There is a nod to the original line-ups in the shape of a washboard (no tea-chest bass?) but otherwise, aside from a wide array of normal instruments, there are such musical eccentricities as sousaphone, bass banjo, knee trumpet (you had to be there), saw, watering can, even insecticide sprayer. The humour is fairly basic, and some of the jokes are museum pieces, but what impresses most is the sheer energy, skill and versatility of the musicianship – driving the show along to its faster and faster, and dafter and dafter climax. Lots of fun.



                                                                                         John Christopher Wood

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