Saturday, 12 July 2014

Didn't you used to be Derek Jacobi?

Hils, History Boy (Crog) and I had a most unexpectedly brilliant evening yesterday, courtesy (once again) of those lovely people from the Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association (GALHA), at the twee Conway Hall.

For we had booked tickets for a new one-man play they were hosting, improbably titled Didn't you used to be Derek Jacobi?. The name alone sounded intriguing enough - but the fact it was produced by none other than Louise Jameson (the sexy savage Leela, assistant to Tom Baker in Dr Who back in the late 70s) was a potential draw for a "Whovian" like Crog (had she actually been there in person, which she wasn't, he would have been thrilled).

We were certainly not disappointed by the performance!

Mr Nigel Fairs is a truly talented actor (and writer, for the play is his work). It takes some stamina to perform alone on stage for an hour and a half - but to change characters (and clothes!) seamlessly while doing so, as the monologues shift from character to character, was pure genius.

The story is in parts hilarious, and in others tugs at the heartstrings as the lives of two "luvvies", Douglas and Leonard, intertwine over the decades until the latter's death. The sad events surrounding that, and his funeral, are largely commented upon by their soft-hearted neighbour Elaine (also played by Nigel), and "she" has some of the best lines of the whole shebang.

We were utterly gob-smacked, and couldn't wait to congratulate Mr Fairs on his triumph!

As did The Brighton & Hove Argus, which gave the play a rave review:
While weaving a sad tale of love, sex and The Milky Bar Kid, Nigel Fairs portrays three characters – Douglas, Leonard and Elaine... The set is a dressing room and the story concerns two actors, Leonard and Douglas, who are never lovers although each man clearly loves the other.

Fairs relaxes his audiences and leads them through the 85-minute performance with considerable pathos and humour. He even persuades everyone to close their eyes while Elaine gets changed.
Here is the trailer for this superb performance piece, and I advise anyone who can, to go and see it!

Nigel Fairs official website


  1. forgive me if you've written about this before:

    vicious just began here 2 weeks ago. i know it's a big hit with you guys over there. i'm finding it o k a y....SO over the top, relentlessly so. i'm thinking it's a bit of a cultural difference, the humor. of course, i'll continue to watch. y tu?

    1. We did indeed adore it, for all its arch silliness. The combination of Sirs Derek and Ian plus Miss LaTour is just delicious. The good news is that it has been re-commissioned for a second series, to be aired later this year! Jx

    2. thanks jon, i just knew you must've made a mention.
      i do like frances, what a kisser!

  2. A wonderful evening out, beautifully summed up here. I hadn’t even realised that it was an hour and a half long as I was so gripped. I’d definitely go and see it again, and this time make sure the rest of the gang came along too – its too good to miss!

    1. We do tend to stumble across some theatrical gems, my dear - and this was a corker! A great night out with you both... Jx


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