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Summerhall – Venue 26

19-26th, 7:30pm

I had the opportunity of interviewing the creator of this show, Mr. Nick Cassenbaum a couple of years ago when he was performing his last theatrical production “Bubble Schmeisis”. I was genuinely quite fond of him, as he exuded a very relaxed but cheeky charm. I remember at the time asking what kind of show he was thinking of producing next, to which he told me he wanted to produce a show on his hero Michael Barrymore. I’ll admit I was a little surprised, as I never experienced too much of his work and the little I’d seen didn’t really blow me away.  Old Barrymore was a host and entertainer for a lot of Saturday afternoon fare you’d get on the telly, plus game shows. But as we got talking about how much he admired Barrymore’s nature in warming up a crowd very easily and acting off the cuff, it did bring back a memory. One time I was hanging around the house of a pal of my and I think a game show of Barrymore’s was on. The interesting thing was, he wasn’t getting on with the show, in a matter of fact he just spent about ten minutes if not more, just mucking about in the audience! Truth be told, I’d never seen anything like this before, and I could see why Cassenbaum admired him, and I honestly could see how it had influenced his performance style.

Which certainly becomes very apparent in his new show, that highlights the good old fashioned days when entertainment shows were not about mean spirited people trying get one over on each other. But where people were just up for a bit of a laugh and not take themselves too seriously. And Cassenbaum certainly mines this with his audience, for not only is this show a love letter to his hero, it’s also embraces all the audiences members heroes as well. But for all it’s cheer and for Cassenbaum’s enthusiasm, I was wondering if it was going to veer away from the scandal that very much overtook Barrymore’s career later in life and which pretty much got him blacklisted from television. But this is covered too in a way that doesn’t comprise the show’s enthusiasm or integrity.

To be honest, whatever your knowledge on Barrymore, don’t let it discourage you from checking out this truly entertaining show with an equally engaging host.

Markus Helbig.


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