Graham Fellows: Completely Out of Character – Live Review – Huddersfield Lawrence Batley Theatre
By @Steve Crabtree, February 2018
Graham Fellows, and his years of characters and experience can certainly draw a crowd, and there’s a big, diverse fan-base here this evening. It’s a sell out at the intimate comedy cellar at the Lawrence Batley Theatre, Huddersfield, and tonight’s show is a little bit different.
Because, as the title states, we’re here to see Fellows himself. A look back on his life, his career and all the trials and tribulations that have come in between.
He arrives on stage to a great, appreciative reception and jumps on the keyboard to perform the first song of many. It’s a song he wrote called ‘Miller’, and to say the lyrics are quirky would be an understatement. However when we find out that he wrote the song when he was seven years old, it became an obvious launch pad for the autobiographical evening that we’re here for.
“Things you thought you could only dream about”
Known for music, acting and creating laughter, his journey from childhood to today unfolds – a real ride of the good, the not-so-good and the things you thought you could only dream about. And although he’s completely out of character, Fellows has conversations with John Shuttleworth, Brian Appleton and others, as the story goes on. The facial expressions of those characters accompany the voices, and it keeps the chuckles coming.
This is not stand-up comedy though. Yes, he drops a number of funnies in to the show, but there’s more to his story. Paperboy, mice breeder extraordinaire, pop-star snogger, milkman… not just actor and musician.
“Personal and genuine”
Born in Sheffield, lived in Manchester, and took himself to London and Scotland. A guy who’s moved around for the work. And what I like about tonight is that with no character to work behind, there is no script. Although there’s a structure to his story, there’s a natural unpolished element to how he’s telling it. Which makes it all the more personal and genuine.
There are a few down points that come out. I don’t know if it’s just me but you forget that people who are so good at making people laugh can have downers. But there are plenty more ups. Just a couple of highlights are when he treats us to the acoustic-punk version of ‘Gordon Is a Moron’, the hit he performed in the 70s under the character Jilted John. And his story about spending new years day at Paul McCartney’s house is one to cherish.
He delivers tonight through talk and through song. Reminders of songs he wrote and performed in the public domain, and others that fit the autobiographical element of the night. It’s nicely tied together.
But the night has been about Graham Fellows. And it’s been a wonderful evening. It’s been funny it’s been entertaining, and it’s been profound and interesting. He’s a grafter who’s worked hard all his life. And whether he’s chosen acting, music, or breeding mice; he’s hit levels that most people can’t reach.
Everybody’s enjoyed him. Not only is Graham Fellows great with his music, great with his characters, and funny; he’s a solid, top drawer guy to boot. YouTube will be taking a hammering this weekend as I revisit and remind myself of John Shuttleworth, Jilted John, and the rest.