Revelations in Argyll Street

Palladium spotlights life with Larry and Noele Gordon’s hidden talent.


Grayson’s Scandals

IT is with no derogatory sense that one says there is an air of the seaside summer show at the London Palladium, rather that after the several American stars we have seen in Argyll Street this summer it is a nice to find ourselves back with our cosier domestic entertainment.

Cosy is perhaps the right word for Larry Grayson, the raison d’etre for GRAYSON’S SCANDALS, because he rings a whole series of bells in every member of the audience. His material and personality are not larger than life, they are life itself. A hilarious heightening of the aches and pains and such trifling annoyances as draughts, bad manners and the perversity of the human behaviour.

We have all known somebody like him, both male and female – the chronic grumbler, the perpetual chatterer, whose humour is sometimes unconscious. He presents a real, authentic characterisation, constant and sustained even when he is in disguise, as when he sings ‘Just a Gigolo’ while attired as a French onion seller.

The scale of the show is more modest than we might expect, though this in itself emphasises the talent and freshness of the other artists. Noele Gordon, for instance, comes as a revelation to those seeing her for the first time. How regrettable – though not for her possibly – that she should have been stuck behind that reception desk at the Crossroads Motel for what seems like a lifetime when she is one of the most vibrant stage performers of our age.

As she herself reminds us, the role of Rose in GYPSY is one she could have played – and quite brilliantly, if the snatch [of Gypsy] she gives us is anything to go by.

Diminutive George Carl is a superbly gifted master of eccentric moments, forever becoming entangled with microphones, cables, buttonholes and even nostrils.

Los Reales De Paraguay are lively and outgoing practitioners of Latin American gaiety and Keith Harris cannot be faulted for ventriloquial technique, original and comedy content. For song and dance, we have lovely Elaine Simmons, a big hit, and will be even bigger when she’s given more to do, handsome Kenny Day and the sixteen Blackburn Girls, who bring on that rare bird, the male can can dancer, for the first half finale. This tall and talented gentleman, Michael Arene, executing fantastic high kicks and splits, is one of the show’s minor sensations.

Eli Woods and Bill Lynton assist Larry during his longest spot, Bill Rayner conducts the orchestra and others deserving of credit for this Allan Blackburn production are choreographer Nita Howard, costume designer Susan Sorrell, lighting expert Joe Davis and scenic designer Bryce Walmsley.

The Stage, written by Sidney Vauncez.

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