New League of Gentlemen live show delights Cambridge audience
The trio's infectious brand of comedy and horror had the packed auditorium in hysterics as the three actors performed old sketches, new sketches and continued on from where the 2017 three-part special left off.
Having been a huge fan of the TV series since it was first shown in 1999 – and having attended their first live show in 2001 – I was eagerly looking forward to seeing all my favourite characters from the fictional town of Royston Vasey once more.
The League of Gentlemen Live Again! was the comedy troupe’s first live tour since The League of Gentlemen Are Behind You! in 2005 and there was the added excitement of seeing what would happen in the immediate aftermath of Tubbs falling into Papa Lazarou’s ‘wife mine’, the appropriately dark ending to the three-part special.
As was the format in 2001, the first half of the show at the Cambridge Corn Exchange had the three actors – Mark Gatiss, Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith – performing sketches dressed in dinner jackets (fourth LoG member, writer Jeremy Dyson, doesn’t perform), while the second half had them in costume.
There were old, tried-and-tested favourites, such as Pam Douve auditioning for an orange juice commercial (still as funny as it was back then), Ernest Foot putting his foot in it, the lecherous Pop meeting his son’s girlfriend, and married couple Charlie and Stella arguing during a game of Trivial Pursuit.
Other well-known characters – including tour guide Mike McNamara and the Legz Akimbo Theatre Company – were featured in new sketches. I did enjoy this part, but was more excited to see the varied characters in all their costumed glory. The second half began with Tubbs and Edward doing a musical number, with Tubbs in the ‘wife mine’ and Edward above ground.
Over the course of the next hour, before the thrilling and explosive conclusion, we were essentially treated to an episode of the TV series, interspersed with Royston Vasey vicar, Rev. Bernice Woodall, appearing on the screen behind and offering advice to ‘problems’ placed in special baskets in the foyer.
This provided some very funny moments, particularly when she commented on someone who “identified as a unicorn” and then later shot an ‘audience member’ with a crossbow.
Among the funniest moments of the second half, for me, were the sketches featuring local vet Mr Chinnery, Papa Lazarou, The Dentons, businessmen Geoff, Mike and Brian, and self-proclaimed “Queen of Duisburg” Herr Lipp – who also brought a couple up on stage.
There were also some interesting and surprising continuations of certain storylines established in the three-part special, and that alone makes this tour a must-see event for fans of the television series.
The League of Gentlemen are back, have definitely still got it, and long may they continue!