Bob Franklin. Rhino Room. 17 Mar 2012
I got checked for hoof-and-mouth disease in the makeshift box office outside the Rhino Room and then us cattle were corralled into a tiny upstairs holding pen - nervously sensing what was happening next door - until the previous mob could be cleared out so we could be herded into the slaughter room to be slain by laughter.
Bob Franklin’s Sir Robert was a great relief from the too common assault of aggression, wasted tension, and superfluous foul language. Here was a real gentleman, an actor actually, an actor pretending to be an English gentleman reliving his rather ordinary career.
There was a delectable ambiguity about Sir Robert that was somewhat cleared up as he spoke of his vast experiences on the fringe of greatness, while he sucked away at his unlit pipe and port, and entertained his guests wearing a worn but elegant smoking jacket.
His insights or imaginings into the private lives of the stars, swipes at substandard popular entertainments, and stories of the swinging sixties in London and being nanny for Judi Dench’s girls were marvelous. His maybe fictitious back history of Franklin’s real comic associations with Jimeoin, Shaun Micallef and Mick Molloy spiced up the conversation.
Sir Robert had an uncanny capacity for irony – painting the word picture and then rearranging the scenario in a most amusing way. Sound effects were used very effectively. Rambling anecdotes from a sad old fool, indeed, as promised, but a delightfully mirthful hour in the presence of near-greatness.
Where: Rhino Room
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