Andy Howells reviews Just Like That! – The Tommy Cooper Show, performed by John Hewer at Newport’s Riverfront Theatre.
Caerphilly born comic, Tommy Cooper, is one of the all-time greats as far as comedy legends go. Its frequently remarked by his contemporaries that he could reduce a room of people to laughter by simply walking in.
It was quite uncanny therefore that John Hewer as Tommy Cooper stepping on to the Newport Riverfront stage earlier tonight, complete with suit and fez got three notable bouts of laughter from the audience before he said anything. When the laughter stopped, he began, “I can tell if an audience is going to be good or bad… Goodnight!”. The audience laughed more and the spirit of Tommy Cooper was well and truly back home in South Wales.
Rather than most touring tribute acts which attempt to tell potted biographical stories of much-loved comedy stars. Just Like That! hones in on Tommy Cooper’s furiously energetic and frequently chaotic comedy act. The prop-laden jokes may be familiar to the fans and the conjuring tricks performed may or may not go wrong, but like a well-worn video tape, you will know what to expect and it will still be as funny as the first time you saw it.
Many Cooper classics are in Just Like That! performed to magical perfection by John Hewer. The peeking duck card trick (yes, that’s peeking), the magic cloak that produces a step ladder and a death defying shoot a balloon over your shoulder stunt.
With strong support from Christopher Peters who supplies two fabulous musical interludes and acts as the stooge on several occasions; Just Like That! is the ultimate tribute to a Welsh comedy great!
Archived: March 2021