Nostalgic yet brave tale of a comedian past his prime, starring Les Dennis
This article is from 2012.
It’s a brave man who takes on the role of an ageing, fading comedian. Braver still, if you’re Les Dennis – as well known for his Family Fortunes success, as his more recent foray into the dismal world of Celebrity Big Brother.
Both are swiftly forgotten here, though, as Dennis transforms himself completely into the eponymous Jigsy, in this funny, touching, nostalgic show. It’s Liverpool, 1997 and our comedic anti-hero is found gigging in a bingo hall. Venturing ‘backstage’ to crisp boxes, crappy sofas and memorabilia from a bygone age, Jigsy drinks his pint of ‘mild’ and regales us with tales, his tired-looking dinner suit, ruddy cheeks and impromptu coughing fits, hinting at a man past his prime not just professionally but physically.
Tony Staveacre’s script gives a knowing nod to the comedy greats – Peter Cook, Ken Dodd and Tommy Cooper; with Dennis casting aside Jigsy’s thick Scouse accent to mimic them with expert precision – his delivery across the hour allowing the show to meander comfortably from light laughs to the darker realities of a comedian’s lot.
Assembly Rooms, 0844 693 3008, until 26 Aug (not 13), 2.50pm, £14–£15 (£11–£12).