Oh Hello! (4 stars)

This article is from 2015

Oh Hello!

A Carry On legend remembered in one-man monologue

Charles Hawtrey is disgusted, as he'll tell anyone who will listen. He's not getting top billing in the forthcoming Carry On film. Nobody's listening any more. Mother's gone and erstwhile friend Kenneth Williams is a sour rival. Something to do with sexual jealousy over a props boy.

Dave Ainsworth's wise, cyclical script, performed with waspish glee by Jamie Rees, is a small still thing, curdled with resentment, as Rees brings blood to what could have been mere impersonation. The audience are his confidante, as he gossips, pours, sips and cackles. His perfect mimicry stings, he sits alone in his small living room with only his euphemistic 'lemonade' (booze) and memories of a once-stellar career.

Out and proud, he changes into pyjamas and talks of indiscretions with younger men, cackling at repressed co-star Williams, who is getting the work he has turned down. 'Williams? He runs orf to Morocco whenever he gets an erection'.

Fast forward, and he's been sacked for continually turning up 'refreshed' on set. Even the tabloids won't hound him.

Rees is hilarious, whether in arch diva mode, or petulant as a small boy. The many contradictions that were Hawtrey are laid out in the very first scene. He flounces towards the audience, sits down, and whispers 'What are we watching?' Even he doesn't know.

Assembly Hall, 623 3030, until 31 Aug (not 12, 14, 16 & 17, 19, 21, 23, 26, 28, 30), 1.40pm, £9--£11.

Oh Hello!

  • 4 stars

Jamie Rees plays Carry On star Charles Hawtrey, reciting his many behind-the-scenes stories.