An Evening With John Cleese
Regal Theatre, Perth
22 January 2012
By Shane Pinnegar
John Cleese, comedy legend, presented his latest stand up show in the form of an on stage interview, a (very) short Q&A with the audience, and then a series of recollections and amusing anecdotes from throughout his career, never once missing a beat and always remaining dignified and in control, even when the crowd appeared too shy to participate much in the Q&A segment.
This tour started as a means to pay the $24 million dollar divorce settlement from his latest of several ex-wives, but whilst touching on the subject briefly and remaining none too pleased with the situation, his bitterness has obviously subsided and tonight's show was more about his childhood in Weston-Super-Mare and early career with the Cambridge Footlights Theatre, Monty Python and the classic TV series Fawlty Towers.
Rant he does, though, and just as brilliantly and hilariously as he did in the Pythons and as Basil Fawlty - his mother cops a serve, as does women trouble in general - and there are some funny, subdued and touching moments as he reminisces on some of his colleagues from days gone by - Ronnie Barker, Graham Chapman and Marty Feldman amongst them. Recalling his eulogy at Chapman's funeral, peppered with four letter words, was a surprisingly simultaneously hilarious and tender moment.
To say that An Evening With John Cleese was purely designed for die hard fans is an understatement - this is clearly in no way an attempt to win a new audience, after all - and those in attendance had no cause to leave anything but amused, entertained, and perhaps a little more knowing after a peek behind the curtain at this enormously talented man's childhood and major influences.