Round the Horne
3 September 2009 WOS Rating: Reader Reviews: View and add to our user reviews
Robin Sebastian's over-the-top Kenneth Williams steals the show, it's because that's what actually happened at the time. From his initial appearance wooing the audience to be on his side (because he's otherwise so very vulnerable) through the perfectly judged reactions to the other cast members' scenes, this is a very finely judged performanc.
That goes also for
Jonathan Rigby as Kenneth Horne. Height and build suggest the captain of his team, playing up to off-script flashes and somehow always bringing them all back to where he wants them to be. The balance between listening to the words and watching how they're given life is never upset. We're seeing a very subtle form of anarchy at work, though it is most correctly dressed in a three-piece suit with a tie and highly polished shoes.
So many of the show's 1960s targets are with us still – the pretentious Sunday newspaper supplement, the chat-show host who's tongue-tied away from his script, the flamboyant interior designer, the doolally folk singer, the ageing thespians reliving their not-so-glory days, the independent film producer reinventing the cinematograph wheel. They all spill out of the scripts the actors carry until we realise how deep into our unconscious memory certain phrases and character types have rooted themselves.
Sally Grace plays Betty Marsden, mistress of a throatfull of strange voices and mother-hen to her colleagues. David Delve is the spluttery Hugh Paddick with Michael Shaw as Bill Pertwee and Stephen Boswell as the BBC announcer Douglas Smith – who's slightly out of his depth with this particular programme. The Horn Blowers Big Band sound is an eight-piece ensemble to one side of the stage while Deborah Crowe, Chris Coleman, Samuel Holmes and Nathan Taylor as Not the Fraser Hayes Four remind us the popular music of the period had both real tunes and singers who could put them over to an audience.> - by Anne Morley-Priestman Related Content
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