Les Dawson: Flying High

With a forensic talent for pinpointing the precise foibles, flaws and faults of a character and an uncanny capacity for evoking their vocal DNA, Jon Culshaw gives new life to one of show business’s most enduring and endearing stars, Les Dawson. Every nuance, tick and inflection is reproduced from a performer who has clearly gone beyond his remit and spent hours on his homework. It is at times eerie. For the impression alone it is worth the price of the ticket, but there is so much more. A brash, bold set dominated by an unblinking television set on which we glimpse other personalities and characters from Culshaw’s vast palette - Alan Whicker, Hughie Green and most delightful, and accurate of all, Cissie and Ada - those two creations of Les and Roy Barraclough who comment on the action like a drag Greek chorus and regularly deploy meta-insight on the course and structure of the play – “It’s very nebulous. Just clench!”

Something both delightful, insightful and simply entertaining

Tim Whitnall’s play is an affectionate homage to Dawson reminding us not only of his comic skills but also of his propensity for verbose loquaciousness decorating his monologues with an erudition far beyond the capacity of his contemporaries coupled with an autodidactic verve for learning. The play is woven kindly and delicately with witty paraphrases and pastiches of Dawson’s style and many direct quotes ending on one of his most famous monologues.

Bob Golding’s assured and inventive direction brings the whole together with the experience and confidence of a comedy veteran. The trio of creatives gives us something both delightful, insightful and simply entertaining. All three are at the top of their game and the sum of the parts is one of the best shows you’ll see in Edinburgh this year!

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Reviews by Ian Billings

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Les Dawson: Flying High

★★★★★
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Performances

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The Blurb

Jon Culshaw (Dead Ringers, The Impressions Show) stars in this funny, affectionate and poignant celebration of the much-missed comedy legend. Join Les as he summons forth a wealth of characters and incidents from his eventful life and career, as he travels on Concorde at twice the speed of sound 68,000 feet above the Earth, in this new play from BAFTA and Olivier Award-winning writer Tim Whitnall and director Bob Golding.

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