Live Review – Bruce Forsyth, Royal Albert Hall

This review below first appeared in the Evening Standard in 2012. I wasn't particularly looking forward to seeing the Strictly Come Dancing star, I think it might have clashed with a Daniel Kitson gig, but I really was blown away. He totally lived up to his reputation as an all-round entertainer. You sometimes wonder if his TV schtick was scripted but it certainly wasn't here as he spontaneously riffed with his fans as if his life depended on it. He played to the crowd better than anyone I've ever seen. He even gave Daniel Kitson a run for his money.

 

'Bruce Forsyth is either fearless or foolhardy. This June, the 84-year-old supports Bob Dylan at the Hop Farm Festival. “I’ve already bought my wellingtons,” he announced at the end of this gig marking 70 years in showbusiness. He then demonstrated his bizarre exercise routine and explained that he eats vegetables and fruit daily. It clearly does the trick. He held the crowd spellbound for more than two hours.

Naturally, his gags felt older than the besuited Strictly Come Dancing host. He mocked Jonathan Ross for not spending his millions on elocution lessons and said of Naomi Campbell “I never liked her soup”. But it hardly mattered for this wizard of the withering glance. He worked the crowd into a genuine frenzy by glaring at them. And because rather than despite the putdowns they loved him. Never mind his knighthood — his fans would have wanted him crowned.

If the vintage old-school schtick did not win one over — highlights included priceless banter with his equally big-chinned “lovechild” Anton du Beke and hijacking four punters for a comically chaotic Generation Game-style Fred Astaire routine — he also confirmed that he was still a nifty singer, dancer and pianist. “Put the camera on my fingers,” he snapped, wanting the video screen to prove he was not pretending. Don’t worry, Bruce, you can’t fake talent like yours.'

 

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