Review: Comedy falls flat but old favourite songs come to rescue

Forever Young at Warwick Arts Centre
Forever Young at Warwick Arts Centre

Forever Young, Warwick Arts Centre, Until Saturday February 14 (box office 024 76524524)

This show about a nursing home for retired pantomime performers determined to prove that it’s not all behind them promised much.

The song list was full of old favourites and there was plenty of scope for good comedy in the situation.

But the comedy was disappointing. It was summed up when one of the stiff-
legged actors fell flat on his face while trying to dance Bolero (Remember Torvill and Dean’s beautiful performance?) and he went through many agonising contortions to get up.

Most of the slapstick comedy was painfully slow. It took several minutes of struggling for all the actors to get through a narrow door onto the stage.

And it took even longer for five of the disabled old people to drag one of their group 
back onto the stage after
he had fallen off.

I know it was panto, but the comedy based on the actors’ disabilities was stereotyped and patronising - too much coughing and spluttering. And the reaction to one actor’s propensity for farting was schoolboy humour at its worst.

The show was rescued by the choice of songs. The oldies sprang into (slightly) dynamic action to perform classic numbers such as I Love Rock ’n’ Roll, I Got You Babe and Sex Bomb.

Actors/singers Rebecca Little, Tim Frater and John Elkington stood out, ably accompanied by Stefan Bednarczyk on piano.

The Nottingham Playhouse and Oldham Coliseum production is worth going for the songs.

Peter Gawthorpe