Whenever I organise a DARKCHAT itinerary I try to pick a strong show to start. We 1st saw Ken Campbell and his dog
in the street in 1989 and later that year watched a show (in front of him & his dog). Later when he became involved with
language and ventriloquism we saw his show in the Scottish capital & later in the Welsh capital when he toured.
When we heard there was going to be a show about him we knew this was the perfect start to our 2018 festival. On
entering the auditorium our eyes were enthralled by a beautiful set of cushions and luscious chairs in front of us. I
immediately spotted an 8/10 Ken Campbell look-alike who turned out to be Jeremy Stockwell playing the great man.
He is joined on stage by playwright Terry Johnson mainly reading his script from a lecturn. This may not sound too
promising but we quickly realised we were in safe hands.
Mr Johnson duly took us through his personal dealings with the Ken while Jeremy Stockwell brought him back to life with an uncanny impersonation which literally made you miss him more. The set helped to recreate the surroundings in which the comic eccentric would ensemble a variety of strange characters (some of whom are now household names) from which he would cast his strange shows.
This is a play which can mess with your head when you realise Mr J is re-creating his younger self while Ken is being portrayed by Jeremy Stockwell who appears in the play as one of Ken's strange characters, but it works. It helps if you know something about the lead character beforehand but it isn't essential as this is an astonishingly enjoyable show about an astonishing man who truly can claim to be unique amongst theatrical creators, themselves generally larger than life.
We loved the show from beginning to end and it was the perfect way to start our week. Unfortunately, it soon dawned on me that we may have peaked early as I doubt if I will see anything as good this week.
So, do yourselves a favour and pick something unusual. You won't be disappointed.
Ken is at Pleasance Dome until August 27th (not Mondays)
Pleasance Dome (Venue 23) 15.20