(Second review in a day. Check your feeds/read below for the RZ’s thoughts of A Tale of Two Cities at the Gatehouse.)
There’s a long and often painful history of comedians who become game show hosts - and game show hosts becoming comedians. When you think about it, the skill set overlaps quite a bit: the need to make one-liners, dealing with hecklers, higher than average charisma stats, and so on. Add to that the associations audiences make between a game show and its host (let’s face it, The Price is Right is nothing now that Rod Roddy and Bob Barker are gone and the less said about the syndicated version of The Weakest Link without Anne Robinson the better), and it’s the perfect place for a solo entertainer looking for a steady income to be.
So here comes Roy Walker, long time host of UK game show Catchphrase. The RZ never saw this show in the US, nor has he seen reruns in the UK as he sadly doesn’t get the Challenge network (and if he did he’d have it just to watch Richard O’Brien terrorise the contestants on The Crystal Maze), but taking in this evening seemed like a cultural endeavour worth pursuing.
To keep it short (as the show was - about 50-55 min.), the show is about half biography (punctuated with ancient material from Walker’s comedic past and the dusty joke books) and half “you’ll expect me to spout bits from Catchphrase so let’s have fun.” The RZ smiled through most of it and Walker’s an endearing fellow with a cider drinker’s red cheeks and a Belfast brogue, but that’s sadly where it ended: pleasant, but not powerful and sweet, not sharp.
(One-off evening, prices and dates will vary with future productions.)