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REVIEW: Dave Spikey ★★★★ at Newcastle Tyne Theatre
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Spikey: Juggling On A Motorbike ★★★★
Tyne Theatre & Opera House
29th March 2018
Newcastle’s Westgate Road venue continues to be one
of the go to venues for comedy with one of their strongest programmes in recent
years. Dave Spikey, the co-writer of Phoenix Nights, celebrates performing for
over 30 years with a very funny introspective look at the people and
circumstances that underpin the comedy that he created over the years.
Despite jointly writing some of the funniest shows
on tv that this century has seen perhaps he still needs some introduction. His
press blurb said: “Dave had been working
in the NHS for 19 years as a Biomedical Scientist when in 1987 someone uttered
the immortal words, “You’re really funny, you should be a comedian” and for
some reason, he took them seriously!
a few short months later he was crowned the winner of the national talent show
“Stairway to the Stars”. Larry Grayson, one of the judges, told him that it was
a close run thing on the night but what clinched the award for Dave was his
routine about a juggler on a motorbike.
forward 13 years (Is that possible?) to Friday 13th October 2000 , the day Dave
switched off his microscope for good and found himself, the following Monday,
sitting on rain swept local car park dressed as a giant berry! So now in 2017
he celebrates the 30th anniversary of his comedy career.”
This is one show that delivered what the PR blurb said
it would. Dave used the first act to describe his early years. The funnier
material works as we recognise the daft threats our parents used to get us to
return home before dark or the absurd mathematical problems we faced at school.
Indeed Jack may have decided to solve the angle of a ladder using trigonometry
but most of us never needed to once we left school. Of course, school days
comes with crazy friendships and often your first embarrassing encounter with
the opposite sex and Dave had a take on this too that had the Opera House
Dave Spikey is a collector of local news and he
brought both some recent examples and some of his all time favourites to the
show. These stories confirm that real life is often funnier than fiction.
The second act brought the story up to date from his
time working for the NHS in an era when pregnancy tests still involved mice and
TB was still a curse that spread throughout society. Dave naturally finds the amusing
take on even the most harrowing events. Luckily for us all, Dave then gets
involved in the hospital panto and discovers he can entertain and that leads to
the talent show win. As I’ve mentioned in reviews, I had time both as a
customer and a member of staff in Working Men’s Clubs and hence I totally
recognise the difficulties Dave would have faced trying to become established
in a land before comedy clubs became established. Indeed, these experiences later
formed the basis of That Peter Kay Thing
and Phoenix Nights. But this is the
key to why Spikey’s material works – it is based upon a real life. The fact
that Spikey has spent years living and working in the real world has resulted
in material that the audience can relate to and hence find it so funny.
This was a great night of comedy and the 2 hours
quickly passed. Many of our first experiences of comedy were at the Tyne
Theatre from the 90s when the venue hosted one of the regions first comedy
clubs. The venue also featured on the tours of many of the biggest names at the
time. We loved shows by Jack Dee, Jo Brand and Steve Wright. Fast forward to
2018 and the Tyne Theatre and Opera House is still the venue the bigger names
love to have on their tour. The venue feels intimate for a great atmosphere and
yet is big enough for the big tours.
up at The Tyne Theatre and Opera House with ticket links from our affiliate
be appearing on Friday 6, Saturday 7 & Sunday 8 April, Thursday 5, Friday 6
& Saturday 7 & Sunday 8 July, Friday 5 & Sunday 6 October