Brian proves he’s one of the greats

Larger than life comedian and singer Brian Conley proved he is still one of Britain’s greatest entertainers in his superb show at the White Rock Theatre, Hastings, on Thursday, October 10.

Brian promised to provide a fun-packed evening and was true to his word with some excellent visual humour, one-liners and banter with members of the audience.

Admittedly he did not deliver many new jokes, and some of his rhyming Cinderella spoonerisms were not audible, but for the most part his impeccable comic timing had us all laughing our heads off.

Brian underlined that he is also a class act as a singer and earned prolonged applause by repeating his Olivier Award winning Al Jolson performance with electrifying renditions of ‘Swanee’ and ‘Mammy’. His Buddy Holly tribute with ‘Raining In My Heart’ was another outstanding vocal.

As he threw himself around, performed fire eating, played the flute with his nose and treated us to his comic violin routine, using an extra digit, it was hard to believe that the charismatic Conley had to pull out of I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! due to illness last November after 10 days in the jungle.

He referred to how he and his fellow contestants had been starved of food by the failure of former Coronation Street actress Helen Flanagan in most of her tasks. He quipped: “If brains were taxed she’d be due for a rebate.”

Brian is clearly fully fit again and I am at a loss to understand why television bosses have refused to give him another prime time show in recent years.

Supporting Brian was talented comedy ventriloquist Paul Zerdin, a veteran of three Royal Variety Performances. Paul also engaged brilliantly with the audience, and some of his slick exchanges involving his most convincing dummy, Albert, could not have been bettered by a real life double act.

There’s plenty more comedy coming up at the White Rock, with Lee Nelson on Thursday November 7 and Jack Dee on Wednesday November 13 following the October appearances of Sean Lock and Reginald D Hunter.

Review by Tony Flood.