Review: Jasper Carrott’s Stand Up & Rock at Solihull Arts Complex

 

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It is hard to reinvent the wheel these days – so lifelong pals Jasper Carrott and Bev Bevan haven’t bothered.

Instead, they’ve pumped up the tyres, added a few spokes and polished their hub caps, ready to bask in the collective glory of being boys who’ve done good out on the road.

Goodness knows how many miles they’ve covered over the decades putting on shows here, there and everywhere.

But during their sold-out run at Solihull Arts Complex all this week, the pair are rolling back their near 140 years with a cleverly-integrated mixture of stand up comedy (Jasper) and music (The Bev Bevan Band) that seems effortless.

Two 30-minute slots at the beginning of each half though, see Jasper on relaxed yet commanding form as the national star with the local touch.

And an ability to find the heart of human nature, from his inheritance-hungry relatives putting him up at the Hotel Dignitas (“I was the only one coming down for breakfast”) to playing the devoted granddad.

“My back’s killing me after spending two hours playing piggy-back with my five-year-old granddaughter…. I fell off.”

And then there was the confession that he’d once been out with a girl from Malvern College Sixth Form – and then married her.

“I expect to be arrested anytime soon,” he quipped.

Making fun of Michael Parkinson’s move into advertising guaranteed funerals, he added: “What’s the free gift? A shovel!”

Indirectly referencing his love of sunshine holidays, Jasper noted that there are ten million bed bugs in every bed.

“They love you coming back from Spain,” he said. “They think: ‘Mmmm…. crackling’.”

Bev Bevan, meanwhile, doesn’t say a word until the end, when he pays heartfelt tribute to lost friends, including former singer with The Move, Carl Wayne, who died 10 years ago.

He sits at the rear of the stage thumping his tubs like he’s never left ELO – though the sound often left his cymbals and bass drum low down in the mix from where I was sitting in the back corner.

Along the way, Trevor Burton (The Move) and Geoff Turton (Rockin Berries) recall the days when they were playing with legends including Jimi Hendrix and Roy Orbison, the latter apparently instructed by the early 60s’ tour bus driver to get off at Gretna Green ready to kneel down in snow to swear the oath of Auld Lang Syne.

With songs including everything from Pinball Wizard to Blackberry Way, Mr Blue Sky and You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling and hundreds of rock, pop and Birmingham nostalgia photographs appearing as a non-stop slideshow on two large screens, this is a mult-media feelgood two-and-a-half-hour show that could run for as long as everyone wants it to.

Highlights included a barnstorming version of Hey Joe and, with Quill’s Joy Strachan-Brain more than a match for the boys while singing Nights In White Satin.

Courtesy of Birmimgham Mail

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