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27 November 2014
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April 2003
Star Doors: The Chuckles Strike Back @ The Oxford Apollo - review
The Chuckle Brothers
The Chuckle Brothers

Rebecca Ting took it upon herself to go along to the Chuckle Brothers alone - brave girl.


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By Rebecca Ting

I once went to an attractions park, which had a ride with the restriction: ‘No adults allowed, unless accompanied by a responsible child.’ - Assuming ‘The Chuckles Strike Back’ to be a similar affair, I attempt to enlist my little sister to ‘accompany’ me to the show. Unfortunately, she is otherwise engaged, leaving me to go alone, and receive many quizzical looks from the Apollo staff.

As I settle into my seat amidst the crowd of small children zestily singing along to ‘Automatic High’ by S Club Juniors, I do feel just a tad little self-conscious…
However, once the lights dim and the curtains raise, I can sit back and relax, safe in the knowledge that I have no ‘cool cynical teenager’ image to protect, and I ‘boo’ and ‘hiss’ with the best of them.

‘The Chuckles Strike Back’ is, as its name suggests, some kind of ‘every space-epic ever’ parody, featuring not only the Starship Exit-prise (groan), but Dark Waders, Luke Sleepwalker, R2C2 and a plethora of other assorted rip-off characters.

Admittedly, there is virtually no plot, but the planned and predictable gags are greeted uproariously by the children, whilst a few unamused-looking fathers sit, artificial smiles firmly affixed to their faces. The real amusement lies in when it all goes wrong – forgotten lines, malfunctioning props etc. At these points, the actors themselves collapse into fits of laughter, and even the more cynical members of the audience are entertained.

This being said, there’s no doubt that it’s better than your average pantomime – the Chuckle Brothers’ trademark catchphrases and jokes are consistently amusing, though thoroughly predictable. Magical illusions intersperse the adventures of Paul and Barry, and even audience participation is taken to a new level when parents are dragged onto the stage, dressed in bin-bags, and made to run around chairs for ten minutes before being smothered in cream! Sadly, I’m just beginning to get carried away, shouting loudly ‘ALIENS!’ ‘BEHIND YOU!’ (much to the surprise of the small girl sitting next to me). …when it suddenly ended…with a performance of the Chuckles’ new single, a whistle-blowing, trance-clubbing…epic(?) "Available soon in all good record shops!"

Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

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