RICHARD DIGANCE – Epsom, Playhouse Theatre 08.07.10

Any man who has the uncanny knack of overcoming every hurdle including nursing a painful left shoulder whilst still maintaining a sense of humour and never once putting a foot wrong the entire evening has my admiration. It says a lot that Richard Digance consummate skill as an entertainer should be seen as a master-class in how to present a show gently chiding but never insulting to what I suppose many would consider the blue-rinse brigade. By treating everyone as if they were all long-time acquaintances provided a sense of bonhomie that many lesser comedians would die for whilst gently sparring, much like a long running tennis match (John Isner & Nicolas Mahut anyone?) in an effervescent performance that lasted well over two hours with humorous poems, songs and anecdotes making the time just whistle by. Regaling us with stories of his daughters and particularly his father who came in for a marathon joke telling five-minute tour de force I’m surprised that many of the assembled throng weren’t stretchered out by the St John’s ambulance brigade such were the belly laughs the jokes provided. In a display of marketing brilliance that would have made Del Boy proud by subtly reading poems from his latest book on stage ensured a rush to join the queue for the merchandise stall and yes, I did purchase a copy! The second set included a trip down memory lane and songs about “The Saga Louts”, a potted history of Britain in “One Thousand Years” and “200 Remembers” which would have tested the memory of Stephen Fry. Like a final episode of Doctor Who the thoroughly rejuvenated crowd left with beaming smiles and a jocular disposition that I haven’t witnessed since the first performance of Riverdance…no mean feat! In my humble opinion (and, by the sound of it everyone at the theatre tonight) Richard should be a National treasure that the ‘folk’ community should be proud of and perhaps he’ll receive an OBE for services rendered?


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