29 January 2017
Reviewed by Jan Mellor
On arriving at the Parr Hall I was surprised to find a very long queue that went around the whole of the building – Ken for all his 89 years was still very popular. This show was on a Sunday and due to Ken’s record-breaking length of shows it had been brought forward to start at 5pm and yet still the crowds came. On entering the hall I have never in all the years going to this venue seen it so packed – every seat was filled and even the benches around the outside of the hall were full. It seemed the world wanted to see Sir Ken Dodd!
Ken’s show started at 5.15 and from the onset Ken filled the hours with melodies of old songs (that he encouraged the audience to sang along with), silly one-liners and classic jokes that only Ken could tell. As always Ken joked about areas of Warrington (having played here several times) and had banter with some punters from the front row. His quick-fire jokes had the audience non-stop laughing and again (have seen Ken several times) I knew we were in for a good night. Having just an organist and a drummer to back him – the stage was Ken’s – but to assist him the show was injected with other artists that included the Warrington Signing choir – who did amazing renditions of ‘Happiness’ and ‘When you’re smiling’; a duet ‘Andante’ who played a variety of instruments that included a banjo, recorders and even managed to get a tune out of a timber saw; a magician (Paul Derek) who amazingly brought a menagerie of birds, ducks and chickens to appear from empty boxes, handkerchiefs and a ‘French maid’ who played the piano and played stooge to some of Ken’s gags. It was a theatre shown reminiscent of the old variety days. To the delight of the audience Ken came on in his laughter gear (a fury red coat, a Union Jack hat and of course his famous red, whole and blue tickling stick) and he brought on his adorable ‘friend’ Dickie Mint the famous diddy man from the ‘jam-buttie’ mines. The jokes were classics “You don’t need a watch at this show – you need a calendar”, the scouse Hamlet “To be or not to be or what” and the man who presented his wife with 2 aspirins in a ring box so that she could never have a headache – classics – the audience roared. Brilliant!
If you have never seen Ken Dodd live you are missing a treat. The people, around me all stated that they had seen him many times – no-one can resist him. I heard comments of “Wasn’t he great” and “What a great night” and as Ken was finishing his show (reading letters from fans as he always does) on saying that he loved being with his fans – the fans retorted with “And we love you Ken!!” Ken doesn’t swear, tell rude or political jokes and has a pureness about him that makes him so endearing and sincere. He is a national treasure and in getting the audience to cheer with pride for their country, their Olympic stars and the future of Great Britain – his patriotism is unique – a true star in every sense of the word. Ken came on at 5.15pm and finished at 10.pm – nearly 5 hours of pure entertainment – Ken makes you laugh, laughs at himself and spreads “happiness” wherever he goes. Long may you reign Sir Ken!!
Unique and unmissable!
Ken Dodd and his Happiness Tour is currently touring the UK, for more information and tour dates visit www.officialkendodd.co.uk.
For other shows at the Parr Hall in Warrington visit www.pyramidparrhall.com.
Pyramid & Parr Hall, Cultural Quarter, Palmyra Square South, Warrington, WA1 1BL | 01925 442884