The League of Gentlemen, Hammersmith Apollo, London, December 2005
Theatre?! Yes. While I was not as interested in London’s ‘Theatre Land’ as my better half, I did go along to see the occasional bit of board treading… strangely they all seemed to have a bit of panto running through them. This wasn’t the West End though, it was way out West in Hammerschmidt. ‘The League of Gentlemen’ was one of my fave telly shoes of all time – a dark and twisted work of genius. How the hell would they translate to the big stage? Well, in a way, despite the bigger scale, this was almost a return to the beginning for Jeremy Dyson, Mark Gatiss, Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith since the League began life as a stage show and tore up the Edinburgh Festival in the mid-90s before evolving on BBC Radio, then hitting TV screens. The show was a panto-themed treat for Xmas with all your favourite denizens of Royston Vasey appearing. I particularly liked vet Mr Chinnery, butcher Hilary Bliss, Herr Lipp, and of course Edward & Tubbs, owners of the Local Shop. It was hilarious. Like all good piss-takes or pastiches, clearly the League boys know, understand and love pantomime to render their own spin on it so brilliantly. I think the thing that even impressed me more them pulling off all the characters in one live show was the sets and the lighting. This was the biggest stage production I had ever been to and I marvelled at how the sets were very simply physically, with lighting or simple projections doing the real ‘magic’. Really should see more stage stuff. I’m such a philistine. Here's a clip of Mr Chinnery, their Live at Drury Lane show.