Carnforth, not far from Lancaster, is famous because the classic 1945 film Brief Encounter was shot there. Perhaps now it can also become known as the place where a leopardsuit-wearing chap called Kriss Foster and his one friend, Mr Ferris, hail from.The delightful duo take us back to simpler times as they introduce us to their locale, from the nearby Italian restaurant (Marco’s) to Rivington services in between junctions 6 and 8 on the M61, via eccentric stories that link adorable songs.
Their quirky tunes – which include Vimto, I Waited For You At The Service Station and There’s Been A Spillage In Aisle Sixteen - are played on a variety of instruments including a guitar, ukulele, keytar, a Casio keyboard, grand piano, a Fisher Price cassette player, penny whistle and a kazoo.
The audience are also treated to an interactive drawing game, a wind-up toy hamster and Vimto bon bons which are passed around to all when it turns into an impromptu birthday party for a young girl in the audience giggling along with her family.
A particular highlight is towards the end with a quaint ‘movie’ – cute drawings which illustrate a trip to the seaside as the pair perform a ditty about Morecambe.
The show is billed as ideal for fans of Flight of the Conchords and John Shuttleworth; I would also add that those partial to Frank Sidebottom would enjoy this too. There are touches of the Brett Domino Trio in there as well.
It’s clear Kriss and Mr Ferris enjoy what they do as they muse on the little things that make us jubilant in life, from bus drivers waving at each other to the smell of new Jenga bricks. But they too are expert exponents of exultation. We are offered an invitation from Kriss to pop into the music store he works in for a brew if anyone’s ever passing through Lancaster. There’s also an offer that for £100 they’ll go round to anyone’s house and perform the gig there and make their tea for them – and they’ll throw in a Vienetta for free.
By the end every audience member is, like Mr Ferris, a friend, thanks to the lovely innocent cheeriness that reminds you of the joy of being a kid and that only the soulless wouldn’t beam at. Like the famous film shot in the town where the lads originate from, this was an all too brief encounter.