Rodney Bewes - On The Stage And Off review

The star of The Likely Lads has flawless audience rapport in his monologue on acting

Review by Amy Cook | 20 Aug 2007

As the audience filters in, Rodney Bewes – star of The Likely Lads – potters about the stage, setting up props. He puts the finishing touches to his costume, offers out programmes and closes the fire exits.

This informal start to the performance sets the tone for what is to become a friendly dialogue with the audience, rather than a didactic piece of theatre. On The Stage – And Off is a delightful adaptation of the first novel written by Jerome K. Jerome – author of Three Men in a Boat. This one-man show sees Bewes as a “would-be-actor,” regaling the audience with tales of the stage. As his narrative draws us in, the audience begins to forget their theatre surroundings, and instead begins to imagine that they are guests in the drawing room of this jovial character.

Bewes’s audience rapport is flawless, his improvised banter often surpassing the scripted material. His boundless energy is infectious and helps to keep us engaged in what is essentially an extended monologue. There are times when this energy works against him, causing him to stumble over his lines, making things seem a little slap-dash. However, the piece holds together well, with Bewes reminding us what it once meant to tread the boards.