May Update

As we bid a fond, short-term farewell to The Tommy Cooper Show, we’re already looking ahead to a bevy of projects on the horizon!

First up is Miscreation, a co-production with Louth Playgoers, a world premiere of a piece of new writing by Lincolnshire playwright Dan Christmas. The script was the winner at last years Scratch Night at the Riverhead Theatre in Louth last summer and has since been fully developed into a full-length piece of theatre.

Rehearsals are underway for the production, which will enjoy a three-night run at the Riverhead from Thursday 3rd – Saturday 5th July. More details are available via our dedicated Miscreation page.

My views on the forthcoming Tommy Cooper Drama

A number of people have asked for my views on the forthcoming Tommy Cooper drama (it’s not a documentary). I will be watching it and I’m actually quite looking forward to it; he is a fascinating subject, a flawed individual who had the ability to make millions love him without ever even knowing him.
I’ve read the books, seen the documentaries and I’ve met some of the people. He was exceptionally frugal, fell upon alcoholism as a crutch for the fame he had (which affected his professionalism and the quality of his performances), had a violent relationship with his wife and a very passionate relationship with his personal assistant.
At the same time, he was touring nationwide and further afield on what seemed to be an indestructible career. By this I mean that, although his timing and agility waned due to extreme poor health (hindered but not solely caused by his drinking habits), he had an undeterrable gift to be cherished by his legions of fans and supporters. This same love was reciprocated by both his mistress and his wife. The only thing that would bring him down, it seems, would be the scandal.
I don’t wish to speculate on the accuracy, the truth or even the purpose of this drama (I certainly can’t speculate on the accuracy can I? But I’ve had a handful of folk ask me that…) I shall keep an open mind until the screening. After all, shouldn’t everyone? The cliche, of course, is that there are two sides to every story (TC’s son made the argument that it was Tom who was ducking and diving from Gwen rather than the other way around for an example), so the best we can hope for is that we get two sides (preferably three, in this instance!)
Cooper died 30 years ago. He can’t “stand up for his actions”. Neither can his wife or mistress, both of whom have also departed (although the latter left a memoir account of her relationship). The drama has credited the author of his biography, John Fisher, as a consultant. I take this to be very good news. All of John’s work is thorough, concise and packed with passion for his subjects. He also personally knew Cooper. He also respected and admired him. The biography is not a lame attempt to brush over the bad and put Cooper on the highest pedastal. It goes some way to explain how a man, who had such a tortured private life, was still able to make millions of people laugh. Not just smile, or cheer up. But laugh. Laugh hard. And keep on coming back for more, throughout the very bad times, when he was plagued with a drinking problem, insecurity and sometimes too physically ill to stand for longer than 10 minutes…. until that very final show in 1984.
Tommy died on live television – a variety series titled “Live From Her Majesty’s”, on 15th April 1984, during his act (a surefire crowd-pleaser – the fantastic Magic Cloak routine). He was 63. It’s a moment that will be recreated during the drama and is arguably the most controversial scene of the piece. When David Threlfall, who’s playing Tommy, was interviewed on the matter his reply was, “Well, that’s what happened. It was not pleasant to do. But we wanted to honour it and portray it in the best way possible.”
If what David is saying is carried out (on a side-note, in my opinion and from what I’ve seen, he does an exceptional impersonation), then that final scene will be almost as moving, poignant and tragic as the real event. And we’ll be sorry Tommy’s gone. And we’ll miss him.

April Update

WE’RE ON THE ROAD!!!

We’ve had four AMAZING shows (including three sell-outs). The feedback has been phenomenal, and the press and radios have been great in their support. Please check our dates and book (or re-book!) to come see the show.

We’re delighted to announce that we are taking the show to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival at the Gilded Balloon for a limited 8-show run from 18th-25th August. Full details coming soon.

March Update

We’ve heard confirmation that the Scriptwriting Workshop is to return to the Riverhead Theatre this summer! More details will follow shortly.

Meanwhile, tickets are selling very well for our Tommy Cooper show (Louth, Sleaford and Bawtry in particular!) so be sure to plan ahead to avoid disappointment, and follow us on Facebook to see all our stages of production and rehearsal process.

January Update

As part of Louth’s Riverhead Producers scheme, John is taking part in an Improvisation Night on Saturday 25th January. Tickets are just £3, and are available at www.louthplaygoers.com.

We’ve also added an extra date to our Tommy Cooper Tour – we shall be returning to the Lincoln Drill Hall for our final night, Saturday 24th May, to perform a matinee and evening performance!

Lincolnshire-based professional theatre company. Founded by Rachael and John Hewer.