John Shuttleworth: Tyne Theatre, Newcastle

John Shuttleworth: Tyne Theatre, Newcastle

GIVEN 2016 was a terrible time for celebrity mortality it's little wonder that a delusional singer-songwriter from Sheffield who recently experienced a bout of sciatica, albeit mild, believes the Grim Reaper has him in his sights. And so, one of the greatest comic creations ever has reputedly taken to the road for the last time with a show entitled My Last Will and Tasty Mint.

Given Shuttleworth talks about banal, everyday things (like the joy and excitement he experienced when sucking his first mint) it is the delivery that is so superb. Graham Fellows, who first rose to fame back in 1978 as a teenage Jilted John with an eponymous top-ten hit, created his alter-ego 30 years ago... and now has 90 minutes of comedy gold.

Armed only with a Yamaha organ on stage, he sings comic but finely-crafted songs between his empathetic patter. How do you make interesting the problems caused when you open two margarine tubs? Or the dilemma of starting your pudding, but being tempted to go back to savory when offered a bit of tasty shepherd's pie as seconds? Shuttleworth does, and the audience actually sings along.

He rues the loss of sweets like Spangles, has never got over the disappearance of the cardboard tray in Bounty bars and recalls days of going to the pictures as a kid and drinking dandelion and burdock.

Throughout Shuttleworth maintains a straight face, even when talking about the virtues of Keswick Pencil Museum. Last will? No way! Shuttleworth is a comedy creation a long way from living on borrowed time.

Ed Waugh



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