Most comedy depends on the impact of the surprise – Just Like That relies entirely on the familiar. Those who enjoyed this faithful Tommy Cooper tribute the most were also those who couldn’t help but join in with the time-weathered punchlines.
Just Like That! The Tommy Cooper Show Reviews
I arrived a little late for Just Like That! but I soon worked out what was going on. I had originally assumed that this was a revival of the play by John Fisher about Tommy Cooper’s life that ran in the West End a few years back. In fact it is a more straightforward trick-by-trick tribute to the comedian famous for his fumbling manner and his fez.
Caerphilly born comic, Tommy Cooper, is one of the all-time greats as far as comedy legends go. Its frequently remarked by his contemporaries that he could reduce a room of people to laughter by simply walking in.
I am just about old enough to remember watching Live From Her Majesty’s on TV in April 1984. Tommy Cooper was performing his usual mix of seemingly inept magic and daft jokes. During his act, I remember that he started to sway a little and complain of feeling a bit funny. Believing it was part of his act, the audience roared with laughter, as did we watching at home. He stared as if incredulous at the audience, then he collapsed.
“So I went to the doctor; and he said I’m sorry Mr Cooper but you’ve got a serious illness; I said I want a second opinion; he said alright you’re ugly as well….” pure genius – a classic gag based on simple wordplay. Of course, different things make us laugh but some performers have universal appeal; the art of Tommy Cooper was never to offend or shock, but more to gently lean on our funny bone. He never touched race, religion, sex or politics; the joke was always on Tommy or the man/ woman who went to the doctor or walked into a pub.
With the blessing of the Cooper Estate, John Hewer takes to the stage in the guise of one of Britain’s most loved comedians. This is a nostalgic recreation of some of the best of Cooper’s madcap tomfoolery, and for that it delivers on every one of its promises.
Still remembered affectionately by many as a bumbling, feckless, fez wearing comedian, (who famously died on stage during the middle of his act on live television), Tommy Cooper was a rare breed of comedian, a true comic genius, whose influence on generations of comedians can still be seen today. A genuinely funny man both on and off stage, like most comedians of his era, Tommy Cooper’s career was blighted by problems with his health and private life.
This show was a must-watch for me. I have many fond memories of sitting in front of the TV with my father, watching the comedy genius that was Tommy Cooper and straining to hear his rapid patter over my dad’s guffaws which often ended in coughing fits. I was one of the millions who watched, stunned, when he collapsed in a live TV performance over 30 years ago and was devastated to learn that I would never be able to watch the great man in person. So it was with curiosity that I entered the dark confines of the Underground Venue to see whether John Hewer could honour Cooper’s legacy.
I remember my mum trying to convince me years ago to sit down and watch a best of Tommy Cooper show on television, I thought I was ‘far to cool’ to watch it….I was wrong. I watched in stitches as magician in a fez attempted to cook a duck, pull an ever growing selection of goods from his cloak while making some of the most hilariously bad puns I had ever heard.
John Hewer have devised Just Like That! The Tommy Cooper Show: a celebration of the late comedian / magician that transcends the easy option and never becomes a straightforward tribute act. Although full of jokes crowd-pleasing gimmicks are avoided – Cooper’s catch praise is used only once.