REVIEW: Reeves & Mortimer @ Newcastle City Hall (1.2.16) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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On tour to celebrate 25 years of cutting edge, outlandish and just downright funny comedy, Reeves and Mortimer are tonight back in Newcastle. As a sold out and loyal audience wait to see them on stage once more, with intrigue and interest high. Mortimer’s recent health scares kept the fans waiting, unsure of whether the show would actually go ahead. Fortunately, with the doctors all clear given, he’s fit to return to the stage with his partner in crime; and a collective sigh of relief is heard from all sides.

Game changers in their day, it’s not hard to pick out the pair’s influences. However it is of course the North East and its people and characters which fuel most of their creativity. Taking snapshots of the Northern streets they grew up on and twisting them to make their own ludicrous version of events.

Chuckling like naughty schoolboys they take the stage tonight and immediately have the audience where they want them. The spotlight is theirs once again and they use it like they’ve never been away. Perhaps unsurprisingly it’s a short set with Mortimer’s health problems likely to have been considered. Clocking in at around an hour and 45 minutes, inclusive of an interval, and the fans I’m sure are left wanting more. However the last 25 years of characters, memories and insane sketches are all represented with their typical signature hilarity.

Rather like a band getting together on a reunion tour Vic and Bob pull out all the old favourites with their usual mischief and insanity. They retrace their past with integrity and warmth to an audience responsive to the pair’s greatest hits. Tried and tested, there are few surprises for a loyal crowd let down with a poor PA system and rather outdated venue. Luckily it takes little away from the performance, although those like myself sitting in the balcony the poor sound quality at times would have left them struggling to hear every joke and quip from these legends.

Resurrecting their classic cult heroes we see the return of The Stotts, The Man with The Stick and Mulligan and O’Hare, pinning the audience to their seats with fresh takes on old favourites. The Dove From Above has been brought along for the ride, alongside the chaos of Judge Nutmeg and his Wheel of Justice. During costume changes the audience are treated to sketches on the big screen which keep the momentum of the show flowing and the sides of the audience splitting. There’s no time for let-up in a carefully considered, but lovingly shambolic performance.

We might never see the like of these two again. They represent a moment in time like no other and represent a region still obviously close to their hearts. Tonight the audience are treated and reminded of two very funny men doing what they obviously love so much. As they leave the stage after an encore the audience cheer, tonight it’s more than obvious the love is very much a mutual thing.

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