Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell
From: Monday, 12th June 2006
To: Friday, 1 September 2006
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An award-winning comedy based on the life and writings of talented Spectator columnist and notorious alcoholic Jeffrey Bernard about friendship, failure and coming to terms with life. In a life devoted to stylish self-destruction, an unrepentant gambler, fervent drinker and serial womaniser, Bernard publicised his very individual philosophy on vodka, women and racecourses to hilarious effect. From a bar stool in this favourite Soho pub, the raffish writer entertains us with a stream of hilarious anecdotes, and nostalgically regales tales of other Soho characters that have gone the way of the demon drink!
20 June 2006
Like “A A Gill is away” or “Martine McCutcheon is indisposed”, the explanatory legend that “Jeffrey Bernard is unwell” at the foot of somebody else’s column in the Spectator used to imply that, although the show must go on, it’s probably going on somewhere else.
Well, the play fashioned by Keith Waterhouse in 1989 from the scribblings of the absentee hack, now revived at the Garrick Theatre, suggests that the appearance of any column at all must have been a minor miracle. Bernard himself once asked anyone who knew what he was up to between 1960 and 1974 to get in touch - he had no idea himself.
Jeffrey Bernard Is Unwell is set in the preferred Soho haunt of the old rogue, the Coach and Horses pub, lovingly reproduced on a tipsy angle by designer John Gunter: faded panelling, well-worn red leatherette stools and benches, cartoons on the wall. Jeff awakes from a bacchanalian slumber in the small hours of the morning. He’s locked in. Cue a lur...
Latest User Review
184.108.40.206) - 27 June 2006:
I really enjoyed it; it was a great fun evening, even if you do suspect that the 'real' Jeffrey Bernard, as a long-time drunk, was unlikely to have been as amiable as the character portrayed. I felt the first half could have benefited from being 10 minutes shorter, as there seemed to be much of the same, really only the one joke repeated. But the second half more than made up for this, with Tom Conti really coming into his own, and 'playing' the audience. The trick with the egg and the biscuit tin lid was hugely enjoyable, I may even have to try that myself at some stage! So while there was no great amount of depth to the play, it was a very entertaining evening, with a wonderful, impish performance from the ever-likeable Conti....