The Theatreguide.London Review
Just Jim Dale
Vaudeville Theatre Spring 2015
Jim Dale is a performer of immense charm, and even if you're not a lifelong fan, an evening spent in his company is a warm pleasure.
And if, as is evidently the case with many in the audience, you connect with one or another of the many stages in his career, this exercise in happy reminiscence will be a particular delight.
Beginning as a teenage stand-up comic in variety, Dale was a pop singer -songwriter in the 1960s (writing, among less memorable ditties, the lyrics to Georgy Girl). In the same decade came what many will best remember him for, playing the bumbling romantic leads in eleven Carry On films, along with a stint in Olivier's National Theatre as a string of Shakespearean clowns.
In the 1970s he switched loyalties to Frank Dunlap's Young Vic, where an award-winning production of Scapino took him to Broadway. Most of his career since then has been in the USA, with Broadway and Off-Broadway appearances including the original production of the musical Barnum and, most recently, the recording of the audiobook versions of the Harry Potter series.
The still dancer-slim and youthful-looking 80 year old tells his tale with self-depreciating humour, punctuating it with a few songs, a bit of dancing and some dreadful ancient jokes (to demonstrate that the best jokes are ancient and dreadful).
He shares with Cliff Richard the magical ability to let us see the young man of our memories in the lined face of the mature performer before us, though at odd moments he even more resembles Spike Milligan in look, sound and comic mode.
Backed and occasionally prompted by pianist Mark York and directed by Richard Maltby Jr, Dale makes what is clearly a tightly scripted and staged show seem casual and informal, embracing the audience with his warmth and personality.
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Review - Just Jim Dale - Vaudeville Theatre 2015
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