Theatre Review: The Goodies

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The Goodies

A lot of people around my age grew up with The Goodies. For those of you who missed out, they’re a trio of comedians—Grahame Garden, Tim Brooke-Taylor and Bill Oddie—who were part of the Cambridge University Footlights theatre of the sixties that also nourished the careers of John Cleese, Graham Chapman and Peter Cook. I’m not that long in the tooth, but every afternoon as I was growing up in the late seventies/early eighties, just before Dr Who, The Goodies was essential TV viewing. The opening strains of “The Goodies, goody-goody yum-yum” meant a brilliant half hour of surreal, slapstick fun.

It’s because The Goodies was replayed so many times on afternoon TV that they are so hugely popular in Australia—apparently far more so than in England, where the show was played at a late timeslot. And Saturday night at the State Theatre you could certainly ‘feel the love’, as The Goodies took the stage to share some memories from those years, play a few clips from the show, and give us some insights into the making of the series. I and my friends hardly stopped laughing the entire evening, but then all Grahame Garden had to do was stand in front of a cardboard box on a table and mention the words ‘vampire bat’ for us to start laughing our heads off. Garden, in particular, still has that incredible comic timing that makes the simplest joke hilarious.

The evening was lightly structured around the three taking turns reading out questions they’d received from their fans about the show, which was as good a framework as any for a chaotic, fun grab-bag of memories and sketches, including a reading from the old pre-Goodies I’m Sorry I’ll Read That Again radio-play days. I would have left out the ‘encore’ lip-synching performance of Funky Gibbon, which I never thought was very funny or Goodies-like, but then it was their ‘hit song’ after all.

Four giant kittens out of five.

PS. I went to buy the just-released second DVD compilation the other day and was disgusted to see that HMV were charging $50, double the price of the first DVD. This smacks of greedy opportunism—I for one won’t be buying until it comes down to the right price.