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Review: Books, Theatre, Albums, Movies and Gigs

French & Saunders – Still Alive

Liverpool Empire Theatre

Writers: Dawn French & Jennifer Saunders
Director: Hamish McColl
Producer: Phil McIntyre Entertainment
Running Time: 2hrs 10 mins

April 16th, 2008

  French and Saunders promo image

Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders are, both together and individually, something special. Each has found success away from their comedy double act on a scale that is pretty much unprecedented – French with Vicar Of Dibley and Saunders with Absolutely Fabulous, to name but two of their extraordinarily popular TV adventures.


Being on stage, however, is an altogether different animal and no matter how many people have forked out for tickets or watched your last Christmas special, if an act doesn’t deliver, live, an audience will generally let them know.

So it was that this show of the “Final Tour” began with F & S dressed as old women in the back of a Jeep being driven by a Guinea Pig across the huge screen at the back of the stage, before the model version appeared with two dolls representing the stars perched in the back seat.

And so the scene was set; not exactly rib-crackingly hilarious, but nonetheless amusing and, it has to be said, as innovative as you might expect from a duo who have made a career out of taking the norm and twisting it around.

Trouble is, it sort of stays at that level of funniness throughout. Okay, there are one or two inspired moments. Dawn French’s raid on the audience for chocolate – and, indeed her entire enthusiasm – was an absolute joy, whereas Jennifer Saunders’ Madonna parody was equally as enjoyable, as the pair interacted with each other during scene changes or, when new clothes were required for a new sketch, just let the screen do the talking for them … sometimes to a point of overkill. After all, had we wanted to have seen them on TV we’d have videoed the last thirty years worth of shows, or at least bought a DVD, and stayed home.

French & Saunders are funny, but two hours of hilarious live performance funny? Well, maybe not, although one happy customer did remark on leaving that she wished she had another forty quid to spare so that she come again the night after with her husband. Now that’s a fan!

Chris High

Click here to view details and book for the Liverpool Empire Theatre



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“Writing gets me away for a while' from this world and into one where I, alone, can make or
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