Angelos and Barry – Live Review – Whitby Pavilion
By Victoria Holdsworth, November 2017
As cold as it was outside, there was a very cosy welcome in the Whitby Pavilion theatre for this evening’s entertainment. It was Saturday night, so what better things to do than have a few drinks, lots of laughter and of course, join a cult!
A short warm-up came from a Romanian stand up called Radu. I’m not sure how warm he was supposed to get us, however, as tepid would be the word I would use in this instance. It wasn’t that he was a bad comedian, but he was very nervous – and some of his choice of material was a little questionable to say the least. He struggled through his twenty minutes, but seemed to win the crowd over towards the end before he shuffled from the stage and we had an old-fashioned interval before the main act.
With some Indian bells and some jiggery-pokery, Barry from Watford made his grand entrance through the back of the theatre crowd, like an elderly drag queen, with what can only be described as some red-hot Bollywood moves, twerking his way up onto the stage.
“Specially adapted brush”
Tonight, is going to be an awakening, because this is the start of our journey together, with the hapless duo. Barry is going to give us a life message, and we are warned that there may be some spiritual and psychic titbits, as he explains ‘The Power Generation’ can change the world with love, and of course a small donation from its followers. The principle follower being of course, the one and only Angelos Epithemiou.
‘It is a movement. Not a cult!’ is the mantra from Barry and his dedicated follower, but is everything as it seems? The defender of the bookies and the keeper of the carrier bag, finally makes his way onto the stage to rapturous applause, and we are treated to some good old-fashioned vaudeville action from the utter brilliance of the pair’s imagination. A giant Chinese dragon head and some snappy crackers being thrown around the stage, were more exciting than some fireworks displays I’ve seen.
Because Angelos and Barry are such people persons, it’s only natural they get amongst their public, and potential recruits. An engaging Angelos charms the crowd with his Sainsbury carrier bag, sparkling wit and saucy humour, whilst Barry explains the very finer details of being part of ‘The Power Generation’.
Unfortunately, this is cut short with a chronic attack of Barry’s psoriasis, which only Angelos and his specially adapted brush can help him with, which even managed to have its own endearing song. The drama then starts to unfolds, and in a touching tea ceremony moment, we learn that not only has Angelos been saved from his life as a sex addict, but Barry’s wife, the beautiful Margaret has had to leave him on his own.
Once the audience has come down on the sympathetic side with Barry, Angelos delivers the crushing blow to the crowd: We have all been defrauded as he reads a letter from the recently departed Margaret, which tells of tales of gambling, lies and deceit!
With Barry rumbled, he confesses to his followers that he hasn’t lost the money, he has just misplaced it, but he cannot remember where it is.
Hilarity then ensues with some classic unpredictability, a parallel universe, where nonsense and unexpected call and responses are delivered as if everyone in the audience has always known them. Angelos demonstrates his psychic channelling of Roger, his guide, Kenneth Williams and Hattie Jaques, to assist Barry with his quest to find his winnings.
The feel-good factor watching these two guys is amazing. The trick of a show like this is to blend the familiar with the unfamiliar. Angelos and Barry cover all bases, but without lapsing into convention, especially when their act is so surreal, where the whole point is to surprise with unlikely juxtaposition.
“Fuzzy kind of glow”
Angelos and Barry have created their own strange world, which seems to have seeped into other avenues of comedy. There has not been a comedy act like this since Vic Reeves Big Night Out.
The chemistry on stage with Angelos and Barry, is the same off stage between Dan Renton-Skinner (Angelos) and Alex Lowe (Barry). There is such a real camaraderie between them and they delight in trying to make each other laugh, in moments that are just pure magic!
They do everything themselves and the charm of their props are undimmed. We were even treated to a pair of homemade testicles this evening from the duo. Alex can just bring the house down with his sideways glances and witty banter, which just seems to naturally emit from him, whilst Dan is lightening quick to run with any comedic train of thought, making it impossible not to get swept along with him.
There are of course some cheeky nods to Eric and Ernie, even Barker and Corbett, but if you are experiencing any of this for the first time, then probably very little of it will make sense. But, why should it? The duo never look lost in the chaos that they create and there is something pleasingly infantile about their style with a surrealist fuzzy kind of glow that just adds the finishing touches for comedy which has no time frame, or cultural reference in the first place to really date it, so it always remains fresh.