There’s a nostalgic reason for reviewing Basil Brush, the tweedy gent puppet fox, who was a firm favourite of my childhood TV viewing, and while I requested the adult’s show, Basil Brush: Unleashed, I’m instead set loose to review the family fun show, Basil Brush’s Family Fun Show. The only audience member without a child, I think my editorial team is having a laugh – boom boom.
Born in 1962, Basil had his own TV show at the young age of 6 (or 34 in human years) and entertained the masses up until 1984. After a well-deserved break, Basil relaunched the show in 2002 to great acclaim and it ran for a further five years. Since then, he has appeared in some the UK’s best-loved programmes including The Chase, The Weakest Link, The Last Leg and made a very special appearance as Dobby in the French & Saunders sketch Harry Potter and the Secret Chamberpot of Azerbaijan for Comic Relief.
It’s a packed-out audience and, with his trusted human helper, Mr Martin (Martin Cabble-Reid aka former Britain’s Got Talent finalist, Kevin Cruise), Basil sets out to entertain us with potty humour, pants references, story-telling and song, which has the audience, even those without kids in tow, laughing out loud. It might be old fashioned humour, but there are enough jokes to keep the mums, dads, grannies and grandpas happy.
With a career spanning fifty years, it’s fitting that this greatest showman is cast as Hugh Jackman from the recent smash-hit film, while Mr Martin is the bearded lady, with the latter farting his way through This Is Me.
There’s even a game show with two willing and enthusiastic children, who volunteer themselves to come up on the stage, to compete for the prize of ‘custard pie-ing’ Mr Martin in the face with shaving foam. The innocence of one of the children, American Charlie, is adorable as she declares ‘that’s not a pie, it’s a load of squirty cream!’
The performance lasts only fifty minutes – slightly shorter than your normal Fringe show. The last 1o minutes are an opportunity for the children to come and have their photo taken with Basil. I leave the children to it as this point for fear of being spotted enjoying myself too much!
Far from being pants, this is a fabulous, foxy show that all the family, and even a grown-up singleton, loves. The innocent potty-humour can still crack it today, with even the most sophisticated of big-kids.