The League of Gentlemen left Barnstaple with a standing ovation last night (Tuesday) as the curtain went down on the first leg of their nationwide tour.
Barnstaple’s Queen’s Theatre was the first stop for the League’s two-month Live Again! tour, which will take them up and down the country – although not to Swansea.
Those in the audience in North Devon may well have felt like they had been let in on a secret in being able to watch Mark Gatiss, Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith rattle through two hours of side-splitting entertainment from Royston Vasey’s finest before anyone else. They weren’t left disappointed.
The laughs didn’t stop from the moment Legz Akimbo took to the stage to deliver some ‘issue-based theatre’, right the way through to the finale, which served as a follow-on from the 20th anniversary specials that aired in December last year.
The show, created by the trio and Jeremy Dyson, brought just about all of Royston Vasey’s characters to the stage. Edwards and Tubbs Tattsyrup, Pauline and Mickey, Herr Lipp, Matthew Chinnery, Uncle Harvey and Auntie Val, and the infamous Papa Lazarou all featured in the show’s second half, which saw Gatiss, Pemberton and Shearsmith rip through hilarious sketches at a pace that left the audience aching from laughter.
Punctuating the costume changes was the village’s beloved Reverend Bernice Woodhall, who gave her brutally honest opinion on some of 2018’s social issues.
The full costumes of the village’s favourite characters was in contrast to the first half, which saw Gattis, Pemberton and Shearsmith hurtle through sketches in their dinner jackets.
In that time they revisited some of the highlights from the three television series, from Go Johnny Go Go Go Go, to Charlie and Stella, to the lecherous Pop and charity shop workers Vinnie and Reenie. It’s a testament to the trio that they brought these characters to life with nothing more than a hat or scarf here or there.
The League of Gentlemen’s Live Again shows were a perfect mix of old and new, and even though the characters are more than 20 years old now, the two nights in Barnstaple showed that in 2018 they’re as funny as they have ever been.