Review: The Place, Telford – 2017
It is a format Jasper Carrott has been working with for a number of years, a kind of variety show for the baby boomer generation. His Stand Up and Rock show kicked off its 2017 tour with the first of three nights at Oakengates’ The Place on Friday.
The show is split evenly, half stand up and half a run through of the history of music led by The Move and ELO drummer Bev Bevan’s touring band and guests.
Carrott has always had a close relationship with music, starting his career as a bantering folk singer, and putting on Rock with Laughter concerts with his mate Bevan from 2005.
For this year’s tour Geoff Turton, singer with 60s beat group The Rockin Berries, returns with much delightful ribbing flying between the comic and the crooner – Carrott: “They’re not so rocking any more, they do a lot of dribbling.”
The band was joined for the first time by singer Suzie Woo – “She would have been on Britain’s Got Talent but unfortunately she’s got talent”.
Turton showed he still had it with a thoroughly respectable James Brown impression that was startling to see from a 73-year-old Brummie white man, and Woo was pitch perfect on hits by the likes of The Supremes, Aretha Franklin and Dusty Springfield. The band also covered everything from Black Sabbath (who Bevan toured with) to the Righteous Brothers.
As for the stand-up side of the show, the first half was themed around ageing and dealing with the changing modern world, with Carrott covering everything from the indignity of colonoscopies to food prices at airports.
He talked about internet video conferencing – “Now I have to have a shower and put on a suit to make a phone call” – finding his own signed photo for sale on eBay for 99p, and his own baldness, at which point an audience member called out something indistinguishable and Jasper told him: “It’s no use heckling these days, pal – I can’t hear you!”
On the subject of Telford itself he chastised people for being so down on their own town. “You never appreciate where you are,” he said. “I was in Los Angeles, my daughter lives there, and I said to someone ‘It’s amazing here’. He said, ‘Los Angeles? It’s the pits, man. I wish I was in Telford.’”
The second half saw Carrot enter tried and tested territory with an update of his car insurance claims skit, where he finds and reading out genuine bizarre and unintentionally funny descriptions of car accidents sent in by drivers trying to claim money.
He also got his acoustic guitar out for a string of short comedy songs, which took me right back to sitting in front of the TV watching the comedian with my parents as a child – even if the jokes were a little more risqué.
For the finale the band were joined on stage for versions of Carrott’s Funky Moped and ELO classic Mr Blue Sky, to round off a thoroughly entertaining night.
By Tom Morton – Shropshire Star