Friday, December 28, 2007

Big In Australia, We Lift The Lid On Little Britain

Little Britain's grotesque characters are ready to shock and entertain us live on stage, says JAMES WIGNEY. via The Advertiser

After reading an article reviewing the lastest stage show of the UK export, Little Britain, I found myself fascinated on another country's take on our British humour. We have known for decades how if we ever wanted to get in the U.S's good books, we just send them a dozen copies of Benny Hill shows or even a knotted hankie to remind them of the days when the Americans could not get enough of Monty Python, so when I read how the cast of LB were going down under in Oz, I was quite surprised to find that the country who gave us surfer dudes, heavenly bodies and Neighbours, actually are easily shocked by over weight men dressed up as women.

Perhaps they never looked at Dame Edna Everage in the same light, she was, notably a Queen in her country: fully dressed, made up and beautifully cutting with her remarks to our home grown Michael Parkinson when in conversation, yet LB has probably taken the reality of transvestites a little too far. I personally don't like the show, but then again, I grew up on a steady diet of Blackadder and was inspired to write for a living after being exposed to such cleverly crafted wit and historic wisdom.

It is this sort of upbringing in middle class suburbia which takes a horrible hold and refuses the patient to ever see past Stella Street ever again. Despite the audience roughly having the same chance of being hauled up on stage as you would expect at a Derren Brown show, at least you are not going to be exposed to giant licks on the forehead by the UK's biggest trickster. However, we can imagine that since the big wigs of the Beeb won't travel any further than Tolworth Roundabout on location, we can safely say that anything goes when on stage with Matt Lucas and David Walliams.

The further they are from censorship, the more vile they become. This new style of rock and roll is booming; meaning that the unlikely pair are selling out over there as well as a year over here. They have shocked a few million with their bare buttocks and overly theatrical script which first appeared on Radio Two six years ago. The concept of these grotesque figures actually representing the United Kingdom is something we should revolt over on a national scale, yet we find ourselves embracing these darkly macabre characters as if they have moved in next door. We are shifting the comedy to the unimaginable, yet as a country, no matter what we dish out, we will always lead the world with a chuckle...

mduffy 2007

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

From Cleese To Cheese - The Injustice Of The Panther Returns

"...Monty Python star John Cleese is set to play Chief Inspector Dreyfus in the sequel to the remake of Pink Panther...." via

I wonder what you will make of this. Forget the genius of Sellers - the sullen face, the unmovable moustache, the trench rain coat which only Colombo has been able to pull off since and now picture the Ministry of Silly Walks and put Cleese in the place of a lead figure in the never ending story of the Pink Panther.

Does anything sound vaguely wrong or at least a tad bonkers to you? Yes, I thought so. There will never be another Sellers, yet don’t be me wrong. Before you think I’m off on one of my daunting trips down the valley of the lost souls of stardom, I have actually read the article clearly and it is not Cleese doing the injustice of Sellers, but the equally unjustified and criminal act of the other failed character post-Sellers….Chief Inspector Dreyfus.

Those chaps at MGM just don’t know when to give up do they? I guess if Sellers was smiling down right now (and to be honest, I would think he would have better things to do - getting drunk with Milligan and wearing toilet seats around their necks springs to mind) It practically makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end when I hear the word “franchise.” It’s an Americanism - and as much as I am in love with the word “cheeseburger,” the former is one I can never feel at home with. Manic legend Steve Martin is set to play the aging Clouseau, but never as good as the original.

I guess to a equally aging Seller’s fan myself, it would be like a Ford Mondeo posing as a Ferrari. Quite the ends of the scale. Don’t get me wrong (for the second time) but this whole bumbling throw together of a major point in comic film history is rather like getting Brad Pitt and Hugh Grant to do a hash remake of Some Like It Hot - there are some things not to be tampered with - ever and the Pinkness of the Panther is one of them. We have until 2009 before we are subjected to this awfulness of general lack of imagination.

Until then - we can always look forward to a few more Pirates Of The Caribbean movies. I guess in a few decades time, they will want to get their money grabbing hands on Depp too… And guess who else is in it, I bet you can never guess... Pink of course - why the name was made for the Panther screen. The critics are already on their backs on this one - we shall wait and see yet it would not be the first time that the powers that be have got it all wrong.

The bookies will have their day when the box office sellings go through the roof....

m.duffy 2007