Just like that! Aberdeen audiences have the chance to relive the magic, mayhem and comedy genius of the legendary Tommy Cooper.
And Danny Taylor, the performer behind the acclaimed one-man show The Very Best Of Tommy Cooper promises audiences are in for a night of laughter – and maybe some tears – when he arrives at the Aberdeen Arts Centre on August 12.
“It’s Tommy Cooper, live and unleashed. It’s the finest moments of Tommy Cooper and his act. We’ve got everything from ‘spoon/jar’, ‘Dappy Duck’, ‘glass/bottle’, you name it, it’s all in there,” said Danny, referring to some of the comedian’s iconic jokes and routines.
But it’s not just an evening of fun and games, said Danny. It’s also a chance to find out more about the man beneath the fez.
Tommy Cooper was one of the world’s most recognisable comedians
Tommy was an absolute staple of comedy and television in the 60s and 70s, whose misfiring magic and fast one-liners made him one of the most recognisable comedians in the world, before he died after suffering a heart attack while performing live on television in 1984.
“We’ve peppered the whole show with narrative , but it’s done in a very jokey way,” said Danny, an acclaimed actor, performer, director, and musician.
“It’s where he talks about growing up, going into the army – ‘They made me go in the army, I joined the Royal Horse Guards, I fought and I fought and I fought, but they made me go anyway’.”
Over the course of the show, Danny will lift the lid on key moments in Tommy’s life, talking in character about being wounded during the war, joining an army concert party, meeting his wife Gwen and discovering success through his magic goes wrong routine.
“While we are doing all of this, he is up and down seesaws, he’s going into tricks, and he’s telling jokes. He was always telling jokes while he was doing tricks so the show is absolutely littered with some of his most famous ones.”
Danny will bring the essence of Tommy Cooper to Arts Centre stage
Danny hopes his performance brings the essence of Tommy to the stage, giving the audience as close as possible to the experience of seeing the comedian on stage.
“That’s always the aim but, of course, it will never be Tommy Cooper on the stage because there is only one Tommy Cooper,” said Danny.
“What was wonderful about Tommy and what was so loveable about him, what he never actually thought he was very good. It was always that look of surprise and ‘what, me?’ So I think it’s very important we get the innocence of the character.
“But Tommy had funny bones, he was just a funny man.”
Danny’s show, which originated in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, has toured extensively – including a set at this year’s Glastonbury Festival.
“It was listed as one of the top 10 shows to see there, with Elton John,” said Danny, a lifelong fan of Tommy who is delighted to see him being discovered by a new generation.
“What I loved about (Glastonbury) was we saw so many young people in the audience. And that was a testament to Tommy Cooper because he was a family entertainer.
“I think they just loved seeing the tricks going wrong, but then you get on to the humour. Things like; ‘I went to the doctor and I said I broke my arm in three places. He said, well stay away from them places’.”
Danny set for dancing lessons from partner Shirley Ballas for new role
Danny has been busy in recent months, not just with Tommy Cooper, but other acting roles as diverse as John Lennon and Hitler – “I’ve played a lot of dead people” – as well as recording a new album.
An upcoming role in a play called By The Waters Of Liverpool will see him play a ballroom teacher. Luckily he has a coach on hand to help him get into the role – his partner, Strictly Come Dancing judge, Shirley Ballas.
“I did mention to Shirley I may need a bit of help with some of the movements, so I’ll be getting my lessons in for that,” he joked.
But before that he’s looking forward to a return to Aberdeen – he has played His Majesty’s several times in tours of Blood Brothers – and bringing Tommy Cooper to the Arts Centre audience.
“It’s a celebration of his life and celebrating what was so great and so unique about Tommy Cooper,” said Danny.
“So come and have a laugh, get your funny bones on and you’re in for a treat.”
The Very Best Of Tommy Cooper (Just Like That) is at Aberdeen Arts Centre on Saturday August 12.
For tickets and information, visit aberdeenartscentre.com or call 01224 635208.