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BILL ODDIE – Live in Perth, 27 June 2013

| 17 July 2013 | Reply

“An Oldie But A Goodie” Tour – The Astor Theatre, Perth, Western Australia
Thursday 27 June 2013
By Shane Pinnegar

Getting to experience first hand the comedy of someone whose work left a mighty deep footprint on your own sense of humour is a rare thrill, but thirty years after his heyday in this country, some were sceptical if former Goodie Bill Oddie – the man so many Australians watched repeatedly at 5:30 or 6 o’clock every weeknight for years – could pull off a solo theatre show at all.

They needn’t have worried though, as Oddie delivered a thoroughly enjoyable, meandering hour and a half of entertainment which was as hilarious as it was poignant, nostalgic as it was relevant, and as heart-warmingly anarchic as The Goodies ever were.

A star presenter of wildlife programs for many years in his native England, Oddie will always be known in Australia for his ground breaking physical and anti-establishment comedy with Tim Brooke-Taylor and Graeme Garden as The Goodies.

The threesome toured Australia together in 2005, and TBT & GG did another lap with Oddie a couple of years later, so this time round Oddie was determined not to merely recycle the same old outtakes and ‘Greatest Hits’ clips, instead delivering some more personal reflections and some surprise favourites.

The Goodies remain beloved cult favourites here, and there are fans dressed up as the threesome, a giant kitten or two, some practioners of the Lancastrian martial art Eckythump, and more besides dotted throughout the crowd, giving the show a real pantomime vibe.

Playing up on any perceived rivalry between himself and Brooke-Taylor and Garden, who Oddie jokingly calls “bastards”, a short video hello is played to kick proceedings off.

Oddie takes us on a journey – his own journey – talking the crowd through his first performances in a school skiffle band (complete with footage of their own reunion and a song), his start in comedy at Cambridge University, through his early pop career and into legitimate TV and pop stardom with The Goodies.

The biggest laughs are reserved for The Goodies clips and tales of recording Wild Thing, collecting his OBE to the tune of ‘There Is Nothing Like A Dame’, almost turning his back on the Queen and more.

The second half sees not only the crowd but also Oddie well and truly warmed up, and laughs come thick and fast. An audience question about the MCC episode of The Goodies aka 2001 And A Bit leaves Oddie blank – “Too much sherbet!” yells one wag, referencing the early Goodies episodes where Bill would hallucinate, LSD-style, on his trusty sherbert.

It’s not all japery though, Bill talks about his debilitating depression and the joy at finally recently getting properly diagnosed as Bipolar Type 2. Discussions about his wildlife presenting are both illuminating and hilarious, and a five minute long clip of roosting starlings is so magnificent and beautiful that you could hear a pin drop in the theatre for length of the video.

The Goodies are never too far away, of course, and there’s plenty of tales of the perilous stunts the trio performed in the show – all their own stunts, in fact, and not without injury – and hazardous tales of riding their signature trandem cycle.

Bill finishes up with clips from two of his own favourite Goodies episodes – Scouts and Earthanasia, before a jolly run through of signature song The Funky Gibbon. To cap off a lovely night , a clip was played from the Movie Producers episode of The Goodies – one of this reviewers favourites, and a startlingly bold and near-perfect example of how ground breakingly clever the group was in their use of physical humour and pre-digital film techniques.

Any bugger can get on a stage and make people laugh, but to do so with such humanity, and such a diverse and engaging array of experiences to draw from, is a rare gift, and one we were very lucky that Bill Oddie shared with us.


Category: Live Reviews

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