McGowan's big impression on Bewdley Festival audience.
Alistair McGowan certainly made a Big Impression on the capacity audience at the Bewdley festival. We were mightily impressed. This kaleidoscope of comedy was one of the highlights of the twenty-five years run.
It was pure gold in the Silver Jubilee.
Comedian, of course, doesn’t cover Alastair McGowan. He does tell jokes, of course, but he is much, much more than a stand-up. He has all the observational skills but he uses them much more forensically.
He’s not just funny, he’s hilarious.
His mimicry is occasionally impressionist and always to the barbed point.
His probing of our class culture gives us a chance to laugh at ourselves without seeing the funny side of that. He asked, for example, why there seemed to be no middle class footballers and then used his array of sporting commentator voices to underline the point.
My favourite moment, however, was when he morphed an earlier festival guest, Neil Oliver – “a man of passion” - into Billy Connelly – “a man of manic passion.” He made the change with such subtlety that you didn’t notice it happening until suddenly the quiet chronicler of the Vikings became the near-hysterical Glaswegian.
Gentle soul though he is offstage, Alistair takes no prisoners once the steps up to the microphone. His George Osbourne starts off as a tour de force of mimicry of the thin public school voice but then slides slowly into a riot of facial and physical contortions. The Chancellor is Mr Bean. The audience is convulsed.
Lest the Right be offended, he then turned his unforgiving spotlight on the adenoidal leader of the Labour Party. Before our eyes Ed Milliband becomes… Grommitt! Visions of his Spitting Images. We are hysterical.
In an equally savage comment on the Coalition Prime Minister and his Deputy, he totally ignored David Cameron and Nick Clegg.