A local actor and comedian brings Vivian Stanshall’s Sir Henry at Rawlinson End to the Brindley Theatre on Wednesday 3 May, a show that has earned five star reviews in the national press and praise from Stephen Fry.
Backed by his band of cobwebbed musicians, Widnes lad Michael Livesley breathes fresh life into legendary Bonzo Viv Stanshall’s manic, classic, surreal but fond masterpiece of exquisitely quintessential English comedy.
It is described as ‘a surreally hilarious examination of the British Empire and class system exquisitely unravelled before your eyes via the stories and songs of the arcane and grotesque inhabitants who populate Rawlinson End.’
“From the heroically drunk Sir Henry and his stoic wife Aunt Florrie to the wrinkled retainer ‘Scrotum’ – all are brought vividly back to life by Livesley in this incredible piece that bridges the gap between The Goons and Dylan Thomas.”
The band for this special homecoming performance will also feature a very special guest player in the form of Viv’s fellow founder Bonzo Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band member Rodney Slater.
It is 22 years since the untimely passing of Vivian Stanshall, one of the greatest British cultural icons of the 20th Century. Revered by both The Beatles and Monty Python, the ripple effects of Viv’s contribution to music and comedy are still felt to this day.
Of all Viv’s creations, the most fondly recalled is his masterwork, Sir Henry at Rawlinson End, in no small part due to it featuring regularly on John Peel’s Radio 1 Show from the 70’s until the 90’s. In 2010 Stanshall’s show was first brought vividly back to life by Michael Livesley at Liverpool’s Unity Theatre.
Since then the show has gone on to tour nationally – including shows at the London Palladium, the Millennium Dome and the Edinburgh and Glastonbury Festivals – and has garnered the respect of Vivian’s friends and fans alike including Vivian’s son Rupert, Adrian Edmondson, Neil Innes, Rick Wakeman and Stephen Fry.
Stephen said: “Michael Livesley embodies to perfection the spirit and brilliance of Vivian Stanshall and adds his own measure of outrageous talent too.
He inhabits Sir Henry and all the denizens of Rawlinson End with such deft brilliance that the audience, when it is not howling with laughter, gasps with incredulity”.
In 2016, such was Rick Wakeman’s admiration for the show, that his label released a soundtrack CD of it, featuring not only Rick but also Bonzo/Python/Rutle Neil Innes.
The show is presented by Guilty Dog Productions by kind permission of the Stanshall family. For more information see: www.sirhenrylives.com Tickets are £14, £12 from www.thebrindley.org.uk and the box office on 0151 907 8360
WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING ABOUT THE SHOW
‘Sir Henry’s bluster and his epic lack of drawing room manners are still winning fun. All very odd, all very Stanshall!’ – The Times
‘A work of lyrical genius and poetry, on a different plane to the rest of the world’ – Rick Wakeman
‘Rare facility and nimble erudition, as powerful an experience as one could wish for outside hallucinogens!’ – Danny Baker
‘Brilliant! Berserk! Simply wonderful!’ – Suzanne Moore, The Guardian