Hooked on Laughter - Starring Vizage
Bournemouth Pier Theatre

Summer 2005

Reviewed by Mike Danata

Being so busy these days with all things "Magical" (busy studio, dealing with customers, sending out mail order, marketing/manufacturing effects, BOOK KEEPING! (Euck!) etc, some would say that I need to "Get out more" this is absolutely true, so when I do "Get out" I want it to be an "Occasion" that is absolutely worthwhile "Getting out" for!!

"Hooked On Laughter" was one such occasion! What a GREAT show! VARIETY at it's absolute best! I went with a few friends primarily to support Sam & Vicki of Illusion Act "Visage" but found myself enjoying the whole show from start to finish!

The show bounced along at a wonderful pace. The show consisted of Singing, Dancing, Comedy (lots of it!!) Magic, & Ventriloquism. Every ounce of talent was squeezed out of the cast members, which consisted of ten people, sometimes all singing & dancing! (even the comedians!).

The night I went, the theatre was full, the same theatre a few years ago was "Dark" because the comedy farce "No Sex Please Were British" was "pulled" because of dwindling audience numbers. Last year had a Variety Show which featured another great Illusion act called "Tensai". One assumes that because of the success of last years Variety show, that maybe this was the reason that this years show was booked. "Visage" the award winning illusionists have two spots in the show with their magic, I'm not going to ruin the element of surprise here by listing their effects, suffice to say that each time they appear they STUN the audience with their BREATHTAKING illusions, beautifully choreographed. Some lay people sat behind me were continually gasping, & I overheard several times someone saying "How did they do that?" Vicki is also a very good singer, she came back later in the show solo, & did a WICKED Tina Turner impression, complete with outfit/hair & THE LEGS!!!! singing LIVE. Sam the other half of Visage also did a Cliff Richard impression, which also was pretty wicked! They also appear in many production numbers throughout the show, showcasing their talents to the full.

Both comedians (Bob Taylor, & Phil Lowen) were HILARIOUS!! some VERY VERY funny moments. The show was called "Hooked on Laughter, but at times the audience were "HOOKED ON HOWLING WITH LAUGHTER!" as I said, some very very funny moments. Mitchell Armstrong the West End vocalist scored very heavily, in particular (for me) with "Have I Told You Lately" (I love that song!). Wendy Abrahams, did a short spot of ventriloquism, with an old lady puppet, her technique was brilliant, the puppet was to sing a song, but couldn't keep time, so Wendy hummed the rhythm, whilst the puppet SANG at the same time!!!! very very clever, & much appreciated by the very responsive audience. Wendy also danced & sang in production numbers (didn't they all!!) as well as appearing in her own "Spots". The "Danze Chique Dancers" (choreographed by Georgia Lee) added a touch of glamour & sparkle to the proceedings with their slick routines, & flashy outfits.

The lighting was terrific, along with the sets. The show is produced & directed by Colin Matthews, one of the few people who know how to produce "Variety" in this country today. Musical Director was Pete Leonard.

All in all a thoroughly enjoyable show! DON'T MISS IT!!


The Pier Theatre
Bournemouth Box Office Tel: 0870 111 3000
Tuesdays Wednesdays & Thursdays 10th May - 21st July inc
Mondays Tuesdays Wednesdays Thursdays & Fridays 25th July - 2nd Sept inc
Tuesdays Wenesdays & Thursdays 6th Sept - 29th Sept inc
8.15 Pm Nightly
13.00 12.00 (Students & Senior Citizens) & 7.00 (Under 16)

Mike Danata, May 2005