TOMMY Cooper was a much loved entertainer, and the tribute to him at Hope Mill theatre (June 6) arrives from the West End’s Museum of Comedy, with some rave reviews to go with it. Quays News entertainment reporter Andrew Riley was amongst the audience…

It has been 30 years since Cooper sadly passed away on stage at the London Palladium, and this show does a very good job of bringing him back to life.

The magic is just as slapdash as the original, the gags come thick and fast, and are as bad as ever!

John Hewer is a very believable Cooper, and has the stage presence to get away with his gags.

Cooper was a huge lumbering giant of a man, and his mannerisms are captured perfectly.

The ill-fitting suit, the fez, the wild hair. Even a slight Welsh lilt to his voice helps transport you back to Cooper’s heyday.

One of the great things about the show is that, like the man himself, its non-political, isn’t crude or rude, but more importantly, it’s funny. You could happily take a six-year-old along, and although they might not get the gags, they would love the magic.

Just Like That

From the signature Cooper trick of ‘Bottle, glass, glass, bottle,’ routine all the way through to shooting the balloons over his shoulder, Hewer carries off all the daft tricks anyone who has ever seen a Tommy Cooper show will know and love, with the ease of someone who is well versed in the dark arts of magic.

That’s the crux…

Cooper was loved by audiences, and that’s perhaps why his humour crosses the years and still feels fresh, even though someone of my age has seen it a thousand times before. To see someone doing a very passable impression, as a tribute show, it was a great way to spend an hour.

Hewers patter with the audience was smooth and well delivered, and although the show looked like chaos, with his side-kick Chris Peters working the piano and behind the magic curtain, the audience were enraptured.

There was a timeless charm about Cooper, and it is obvious that both Hewer and Peters have studied him before embarking on this tribute.

I’d happily recommend anyone to go and see this show. The Hope Mill Theatre is a little off the beaten track, and is a quirky venue on the fringe circuit, but worth checking out.

The show fits perfectly with the venue, and tickets are still available for the remaining two shows.

By Andrew Riley

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