By Fred Davis
If you collected all the comedians from
1950 until about 1987 and put them in a big glass jam jar (with
holes in the lid to allow them to breathe), then dropped it on to
the Apollo stage, the resulting mayhem would be as enjoyably random
as Harry Hill's show.
lunatic entrance preamble of wild insults to the spectacle-wearing,
bald-headed and bearded members of the front stalls let all know
who was in charge. That sorted, Hill invited us to his show.
first half was the stand-up routine. Like a drunken machine-guner
firing at will, Hill sent his ravings, rants and ramblings zipping
into the auditorium. At about a hundred rounds a second came the
stories and fantastical observations: burying Nan in the fridge;
children’s shoe collecting round bouncy castles; Live Aid singing
teeth; Jesus as a duck; the sound of corduroy at a Countryside Alliance
march; the truth behind the beaded curtains at Oxfam and more.
fact, the first half could have continued easily into the second
were it not for a large ice cream cone walking calmly across the
stage to inform Dr Hill of the impending interval.
part two, Hill was joined on stage by the superbly talented backing
duo The Caterers; Stouffer, his small blue cat; Gary, his long-lost
ballet dancing son; and Karate Badger, who did a martial arts demonstration.
at full throttle, Hill screeched in and out of songs, sketches,
and general incidents; this was unadulterated variety, good clean
silliness. To look away for a moment meant missing a trick or a
end as endings go was a slightly lower key event then I had anticipated;
but nothing other than a nuclear explosion could quite have topped
what had gone before. That said, credit must go to Donna, who was
chosen from the audience to play the hamster in the finale and then
never actually left the stage. I was impressed.