REVIEW: Count Arthur Strong :Alive and Unplugged/Malvern Theatres/ June 16.

If Count Arthur Strong were a real character, would people avoid him?

Elderly people with memory loss and delusions of grandeur are seldom easy company; and yet the Forum Theatre was packed for his show, and with much laughter too.

The Count is the alter ego of comedian Steve Delaney, and he offers the comedy of old age: a comedy which arises from a study of old people, who are often forgetful, easily irritated and who seek for life’s meaning in their own deluded egos. Such is Count Arthur Strong, who is fixated on his own, largely imagined music hall triumphs, and a film career in Doncaster.

The audience was treated to snippets of his bizarre B-movie, complete with huge robot mummies and outtakes. This is surreal comedy, bordering on being irritating, and that is probably the point.

Delaney’s genius is to create comedy riffs around an apparent stream of consciousness. He recounts a dream that he’s sitting on a public loo without a lock, and he’s misquoting Shakespeare, loudly: “I come to bury Caesar Salad, not to praise him”, and then he recalls it all actually happened, and the supermarket management had to bribe him with tins of salmon to come out.

The best sketch was probably Count Arthur Strong’s Last Supper, with the great man playing Jesus, singing “Twenty One Today!” Unforgettable!

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