With his trademark fez and flustered face, Tommy Cooper was a unique performer who earned his place among the legends of Great British entertainment with endearing charm and a gift for epic failure.
But behind the bungling stage character was razor sharp comedy talent.
Now, a show recreating this much-loved comedian’s life has been entertaining audiences all over the country and winning over a new generation.
The Tommy Cooper Show comes to Crawley’s Hawth on Friday and Saturday, December 16-17 (7.30pm).
In the central role is Liverpool actor Daniel Taylor who shines as the showbiz genius he once impersonated as a little boy. His portrayal has been described as “breathtaking” and the production celebrates Cooper’s life from early days in the army right up to the height of his television stardom and official status as national treasure.
Daniel, who has performed extensively in Blood Brothers and more recently as John Lennon in Lennon Through A Glass Onion, is supported by his real-life wife Sharon Byatt as Gwen Cooper.
Daniel said: “Tommy Cooper was given that wonderful and rare gift to make people laugh even just by standing there. His comedy was innocent and appealed to all ages. His jokes will stand the test of time and will last for generations to come, as has been proven by the audience reaction to our show. He was also an incredible magician who worked tirelessly at his craft especially when he purposely made the tricks go wrong.”
Having discovered early on his ability to do impressions Daniel enjoyed drama at school and went on to study at the Webber Douglas Academy in London.
“I’ve been a jobbing actor ever since,” he said. “And I felt like Tommy Cooper was one of those characters I’d love to play, but would never get the chance because I’m not famous – so why not do it ourselves? I talked with Ian Carroll about it in a pub and two weeks later he pushed a draft through my door and I started going through it. And now we have done this show with the blessing of the Tommy Cooper Appreciation Society as well as his daughter Vicky.”
It was launched in Liverpool then opened at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and began touring to great acclaim.
“Apart from anything else we try and respect the memory, and tell the story. We are in it for the long haul, we want this show to grow, and we want to keep moving forward. I thought maybe it would appeal to people of my age, but we get a lot of kids coming to see it. Sometimes they think I am Tommy, and I have to explain he is no longer with us but still is an iconic figure. I want to bring him back to life as much as possible.”
Tickets cost £17.50 (conc. £16.50). Call 01293 553636 or visit www.hawth.co.uk.
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