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B'STARD NOUVEAU IS NOT VINTAGE MAYALL; THE NEW STATESMAN Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham.

Byline: ROZ LAWS

FOURTEEN years after he left our screens, Alan B'Stard (Rik May all) is back on a national stage tour.

He's as lascivious, spiteful and politically incorrect as ever. He may have defected to Labour Nouveau, as he calls it, but his views haven't changed.

He's all for shutting down the BBC and sterilising the poor at birth. An old friend of Osama Bin Laden, he knows where the weapons of mass destruction are stashed, and he persuades Condoleeza Rice that America should invade Norway.

Unfortunately Rik gabbles his lines so we can't hear them all. He's a better physical comedian - he does a great impression of Abu Hamza - but some of the jokes are overdone. He is best when ad-libbing, and the moment when he mispronounces a word is the funniest part of the show.

The script is patchy. Some lines are clever, particularly the John Prescott jokes, but some are clichAd and not as topical as Rik had led us to believe, while a couple are near the knuckle, when it's suggested that Alan is behind the deaths of John Smith and David Kelly.

The New Statesman concluded last night at the Alex but continues on tour.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Jun 18, 2006
Words:201
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