To say Nicholas Parsons is a legend, and this being his sixteenth season at the Fringe I imagine he must see this like his own version of an annual end of the pier summer show where a TV star hosts a variety bill for holidaymakers. That format may be long gone but in
Nicholas Parsons CBE has the Fringe in the palm of his hand and all without hesitation, repetition or deviation.
The host is warmly welcomed and some audience participation results in humble prizes (tubes of Smarties) which leads on to gags, guests, a musical star and a big finish. Parsons’ has a lifetime of stage and television experience to relay and, of course, many know him from his BBC Radio Four series Just A Minute, a slick comedic but clever long running series which has been Parsons’ own since the pilot.
A sell-out crowd fills the cabaret bar to see our hero and his ever changing line up of guests. This means that every show will differ but the format remains the same with Parsons working the audience with chat and some jokes and anecdotes reminiscing on his apprenticeship on Clydeside. These tales are worthy of being a show on their own as he tells us of how, as an English public schoolboy he was sent to the dockyards to gain ‘life experience’.
This show included mind reader Colin Cloud and a couple of songs from the cast of the long running News Revue. Timed to perfection, each of the guests chat about their show as Parsons impressively credits them individually and without a script. The mostly mature audience lap it up before queuing for autographs and selfies which continues until the tech crew usher everyone out for the next rapid venue change over.
Even at the age of 93 and selling out his complete run Nicholas Parsons CBE has the Fringe in the palm of his hand and all without hesitation, repetition or deviation.