Friday, 4 September 2009


Two first times for me last night. I went to see Alan Cumming's one man show at the Vaudeville Theatre, which is (a) the first time I've ever seen this hero of mine and (b) the first time I'd ever been to the theatre on my own.

Heads up: Alan Cumming is a Scottish actor who grew up in the same part of Glasgow as I did. He used to be in a comedy duo called Victor and Barry, who were very well known in Scotland, and in my opinion, they produced the funniest songs and sketches I have ever heard. Ask me about their version of 'West Side Story' set in the West End of Glasgow, and see me cry with laughter. I would give my right arm for recordings of their work - which is now unobtainable.

Anyway. Little Alan left Scotland and became a real well respected Broadway star (mostly famously in Cabaret) and then started to act too - he's been in movies such as Goldeneye, Eyes Wide Shut and the Flintstones (although I haven't forgiven him for that one - his character was painted green). He's lived in the US for years now and is married to an American man.

So imagine my joy when I realised that he was performing in London for a week. I bought a very expensive seat and decided that I was not bringing anyone with me, safe in the knowledge that I would have smacked anyone who had not professed that it was a work of genius afterwards.

And it was fabulous. It was the theatre equivalent of lying on your couch on a Sunday afternoon, wrapped in your favourite duvet and drinking hot chocolate whilst listening to favourite old songs. The reviews of his show have all strangely missed the point: they say that Alan is basically a name-dropper who constantly refers in the show to famous people he has met and famous places he has been. But in fact:


  • If Alan's show (or indeed his life) was about the joy of DIY or watching soaps on TV, it would have the same interest, would it?


  • This also totally misses the point - Alan tells us his stories with an almost child-like wonderment about how excited he is to have done these things - he reminded me of a child returning from Disneyworld who tells you about meeting Cinderella. No one could possibly deny him his happiness.

Alan also has a fabulous voice and the songs are without fail either poignant or funny. All in all, a marvellous evening and I envy each and every person who has the pleasure of knowing this man.


Alan Cumming's show, I Bought a Blue Car Today, is at the Vaudeville Theatre on the Strand until Saturday.

36 comments:

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