John Shuttleworth at Huntingdon Hall, Worcester

Went to see John Shuttleworth at Huntingdon Hall in Worcester last night. I had originally planned to see him at the Warwick Arts Centre in December, but tickets had already sold out some weeks ago. As it was, I only just managed to get a ticket for the Worcester date before they too sold out.

John Shuttleworth (aka Graham Fellows) is currently doing a series of dates under the title The Minor Tour (and Other Mythological Creatures). The premise is that his next door neighbour and sole agent, Ken Worthington, was inspired following a recent holiday in Greece to theme John’s upcoming tour along the lines of Greek mythological creatures, following John’s request to undertake a minor tour.

Fellows treated us to a couple of hours of mainly John Shuttleworth, but his other creations, Brian Appleton and Dave Tordoff also made an appearance – the latter by ‘live video link’.

The Brian Appleton character went down very well. Appleton is a (suspended) rock musicologist who makes outrageous claims about how he influenced key people in rock and pop history and accuses them of ‘dumping on him from a great height’. His theme last night was how he influenced the whole Progressive Rock genre, which of course was right up my street.

After the Appleton set (and a couple of his songs on guitar), we were treated to sneak preview of the upcoming John Shuttleworth film, Southern Softies, which follows on from his 2006 documentary, It’s Nice Up North, which set out to test the theory that the further north you go, the nicer people are. It’s Nice Up North was filmed in Shetland (as far North as you can get in the British Isles) and it looks like Southern Softies has been filmed as far south as you can get, in Jersey. I’m looking forward to seeing that film.

John’s songs featured the standard favourites, Y Reg and Pigeons in Flight amongst a few newer numbers. He was ‘called’ a couple of times by his agent, Ken Worthington, although the second time, Fellows was clearly struggling to get the pre-recording of Ken’s dialogue to play which caused him to have to improvise that Ken had put the phone down him and make up some dialogue. He coped admirably, and if he was flustered, he didn’t show it. The audience knew pretty quickly what had happened and it merely made us appreciate it more and laugh along with the situation.

It was a cracking evening of great comedy entertainment and I would recommend it to anyone, although you’ll struggle to get any tickets now – it looks like the tour sold out well in advance.