Ester and Son: Happiness
Ester and Son: Happiness

Ester and Son: Happiness

4/5 stars
Event review by Bernard O'Leary.
Published 23 August 2011

Ester And Son. Esther Rantzen. That slightly lame joke is part of a cunning disguise, intended to make you think you're watching a shambles when you're actually witnessing something quite slick and clever.

This is a comedy lecture, in which Ester will teach all of us the secret to lasting happiness. Unfortunately, his wife's just left him, so his 17-year old son has been drafted in at the last minute, wearily running thorough his dad's presentation while offering a few tips of his own. They're an excellent double act, neatly judged to balance each other out. Ester is a cardigan-wearing liberal, trying to stay optimistic; And Son is a glowering Toryboy, who dreams of quitting the arts to become an estate agent. The struggle between them simmers gently, adding a nice depth to the rest of the show.

It's extremely funny and utterly engrossing, with excellent pacing of the material ensuring that there's never a dull moment. Ester Senior sings some songs (including the fabulous 'Edinburghian Boy'), Ester Junior reads some of his right-wing fairy tales, and they team up nicely in some topical sketches. They never find the true path to happiness, but spending a lunchtime with this family is certainly a step in the right direction.

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