Man & His Works
Sir Henry On Stage!
Good news chaps, there was a play of Vivian's 'Sir Henry
at Rawlinson End' put on in aid of the charity Outreach
3 Way, the dates were Thursday 6th October through till Saturday 8th
October 2005- for more information on this please visit The
Orion Players. As it says on their website "Either you saw it....or
you missed it!"
But if you did miss it, there are some photos and words
Astoria, London SATURDAY, 28/01/2006
It was, as expected, as wonderful, stunning,
hilarious and momentous as you would expect. Ditto chaotic, nostalgic
and obsessive. As Ade Edmonsen said "I feel like a Trekkie at a convention!
These guys are my f****** heroes!" And so say all of us...
For Yvonne Innes account of the days leading
up to and the night of the Gig itself, visit Yvonne's
For Andy Roberts account of the Bonzo reunion
visit his website.
Anyham, there has been much description on various
fora and here, without permission of any of the authors (if miffed, contact
us and we'll remove your gushing effluvia), is a digest:
Cool Britannia (extract)
Hunting Tigers Out In 'INDIAH'
A minute's cacophony for absent friends
My Brother Makes The Noises For The Talkies
On her doorstep last night
Little Sir Echo (Bob Kerr)
Ali Baba's Camel
Falling in love again (in German) Vernon
I'm Going To Bring A Watermelon To My Girl Tonight
Look Out, There's A Monster Coming
Whispering (Roger on leg)
By a waterfall
The Sheik of Araby (Rodney, Sam Spoons solo)
The Equestrian Statue
Cool Britannia (extract)
We are normal
The Strain (Ade Edmondson vocal, and Phil Jupitus, gtr)
The Sound of Music (Stephen Fry)
Exodus ?? (Roger)
Trouser Press (Stephen Fry in at the end)
My Pink Half of the Drain Pipe (Roger and Ade Edmondson)
I'm Bored (Ade Edmondson)
Sport (Stephen Fry)
Mr Apollo (Phil Jupitus - 8 separate gorillas)
Tent (Ade Edmondson)
Can Blue Men Sing the Whites (Phil Jupitus)
Look at Me I'm Wonderful (Legs)
I Left My Heart In San Francisco (Legs)
Rhinocratic Oaths (Stephen Fry)
Mr Slater's Parrot (Ade Edmondson as parrot)
Monster Mash (with Paul Merton)
I'm The Urban Spaceman
Canyons Of Your Mind (with Phil Jupitus)
The Intro And The Outro (on tape)
Slush (on tape)
A flyer handed out to those in the queue:
THE BONZO DOG DOO-DAH BAND
A 40th Anniversary Celebration
Hello and welcome to tonight's festivities. We are delighted you could
join us and we hope you will enjoy an evening remembering the fun we all
had some forty years ago. Rediscovering the material certainly proved
a refreshing and exhilarating experience and we hope that by ten o'clock
tonight you will feel the same!
In rehearsal it soon became apparent that there was a wealth of Bonzo
material all trying to muscle its way into the set (which is now running
close to two hours) and faced with a 10pm curfew, we have been forced
to save the Rutles material for another night. Those who would otherwise
have been Rutles are still here thought, and have been adopted into the
extended Bonzo family for the night.
Tonight's show will be filmed for DVD and television broadcast, so if
you don't want to be risk being seen on telly please enquire at the box
office for a refund and help put a smile on the faces of the poor benighted
ticket-less souls out there.
Unfortunately we cannot allow any photography or recording on to mobile
phones. The normal policy on these occasions is to collect these items
and return them after the show. However, we have agreed with the venue
that as our audience is slightly more... er mature there is no need to
go to such lengths. So please help us and don't try to sneak any pictures
and please, please switch off all mobile phones for the duration of the
Tonight's show will start at 7:30 prompt with a return to the roots of
the Bonzos in the Tiger's Head days. There will be a 15 minute interval
at around 8:15 before we career into the electric era. NB The show ends
at 10pm prompt.
We are thrilled that a number of friends from the world of comedy have
bravely agreed to join us so please give them your wholehearted support
as they make the leap into the world of music. They will really appreciate
We will of course be inviting your participation and warmly invite your
"baas", "ruffs" and "yoo-hoos" at the appropriate
moments so please don't be shy ... with so much to remember though, unscripted
interjections are less welcome.
THANK YOU FOR ALL YOUR SUPPORT...
Neil Innes, Roger Ruskin Spear, Rodney Slater, Sam Spoons, Bob Kerr, Vernon
Dudley Bohay-Nowell and 'Legs' Larry Smith.
The first set was mainly earlier bonzo's stuff. A quick
blast of 'Cool Brittania' to annouce their arrival. There was a little
tribute to absent friends (a 'minutes cacophony') which led into 'My Brother
makes the noises' and then just a parade of jolly, daft songs: 'Watermelon',
'Jollity Farm' 'Hunting Tigers' that sort of thing. Throughout there was
a kind of uncontrolled chaos going on, cues missed, props falling over/apart,
between (and during) song banter, which was exactly as you'd want. Everyone
sang along and we all had a splendid time. Vernon's version of Marlene's
'Falling in love again' with musical saw solo being one highlight. Bob
Kerr's hideous suit another. Rodney Slater seems a nice bloke and Neil
is as I've noted elsewhere, charm itself. Sam Spoons was drawing a picture
between songs. They don't make art students like this anymore...
The second half started with 'Cool Brittania' in full, going on to focus
on the later stuff. We were also treated to the guests. Paul Merton did
'Monster Mash' but was overshadowed by RogerRS and Sam Spoons' 'Frankenstein
with electric spoon solo' act. Phill Jupitus did a more than creditable
turn on 'Mr Apollo' (Eight sperate gorrillas this time...), in fact 'Mr
Apollo' was one of those 'Ooh, I can now say I've lived a full life' moments.
Stephen Fry did a couple of the talking numbers - 'Sound of Music', 'Rhinocratic
Oaths' and gloriously, 'Sport'.
But special mention must be reserved for Ade Edmondson who was quite superb.
'The Strain', and 'Tent' were to be expected but his take on 'My Pink
Half of the Drainpipe' was exceptional, and he dressed up as a Parrot.
Legs Larry floated on and off to do his party pieces ('Wonderful' and
'San Francisco') and blow kisses. Not sure what became of Bill Bailey
The whole shebang ended, fittingly, with 'the Intro and the outro', Viv's
voice playing over the speakers as first the Band, then the guests and
then a whole load of friends, family, hangers-on and small children gathered,
dressed fancily, to wave us goodbye. When it got to 'Vivian Stanshall
- Trumpet' everyone looked up and waved...excuse me I have something in
So there we go, a lovely, lovely evening. The world needs more stuff like
then we had to clear out sharpish 'cos G.A.Y was starting...
The gig itself was incredibly good. Fred Pipes has listed
what happened but I was too busy laughing to really remember the order,
especially as there was so much disorder. It began with Neil Innes saying
"Shall we bother to tune up?" after which all hell broke loose.
Wherever you looked someone was doing something crazy. It didn't all work
but that was hardly surprising considering how much mayhem was happening.
Some highlights of the first half. Vernon Dudley Bohay Nowell's version
of "Falling in love again" complete with saw solo. He hardly
moved all evening as befits a septuagenarian but played exquisite saw
and occasional banjo all evening. Roger Ruskin Spear's loud aside
to the woman who brought out one of his machines "Don't milk
it, bitch" which reduced the band and audience to hysterics. Sam
Spoon's inspired spoon playing and general clowning. He was dressed as
a reject from Play School and behaved like a demented nursery child. Roger
again playing "Whispering" on an artificial leg fitted with
theremin. In between was a generous fifteen songs you knew and loved from
their earlier days immaculately.
Some of them never left the stage during the interval as I suppose they
would never have made it back again. This also meant it was mercifully
short. The second half was far more rock music and included the awaited
guest appearances. Ade Edmondson was obviously thoroughly enjoying himself
and labelled the Bonzos as his heroes. He wandered the front of the audience
dressed as a parrot saying "Hello". Phil Jupitus, presumably
standing in for Bill Bailey, played "Mr Apollo" (dedicated to
John Peel) and "Canyons of your mind" with gusto. Stephen Fry
looked like a child locked in a sweet shop and performed "Rhinocratic
oaths" superbly. Paul Merton did "Monster mash" but everyone's
eyes were fixed on the tableau the boys in the band were presenting. It
was inspired to finish with "The intro and the outro" played
over the PA system, leaving people to file out during "Slush".
There was no encore. How could you follow that?
We all floated out to a freezing winter's night oblivious to the cold,
missing any planned rendezvous in the euphoria of a night spent blissfully.
Review in 'The Times' (January 31):
The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band Revisited
David Sinclair at the Astoria, WC2
Apart from a momentary brush with pop fame thanks to their 1968 hit I’m
the Urban Spaceman, the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band travelled underneath the
mainstream radar during a chequered career spanning most of the 1960s.
But the influence of their counter-cultural music hall routines has spread
far and wide, especially in the world of comedy, and there was no shortage
of latterday stars — including Stephen Fry, Ade Edmondson, Paul
Merton and Phill Jupitus — on hand to perform with the group at
this reunion show.
Convened under the auspices of the singer, pianist and guitarist Neil
Innes, most of the key figures from the original madcap collective had
reported for duty, including Rodney Slater, Roger Ruskin Spear, Legs Larry
Smith, Sam Spoons, Bob Kerr and Vernon Dudley Bohay Nowell. Sadly conspicuous
by his absence, however, was the larger-than-life figure of Vivian Stanshall,
the former leader of the group, who died in a house fire 11 years ago.
Although grey of hair and long of beard (those who still had either),
the Bonzos had not lost their zany sense of theatre. Accompanied by a
“house band” who actually did most of the musical spadework,
the various members clowned around with good-natured zeal.
Nowell conjured a wobbly tone from a saw during a quick blast of Cool
Britannia. Spear performed his famous knockabout “solo” on
an amplified trouser press during Trouser Press. And a remarkably sprightly
Spoons contributed energetically on spoons and drums, while also providing
a steady succession of visual gags. Innes, meanwhile, took an ostensibly
more responsible role as a singer.
The Bonzos’ faintly surreal humour was always an acquired taste,
and if you didn’t get it in the first place it was a bit late to
try to latch on to it now. Overlooked by an ever-changing montage of photographs
of their younger selves, they led an audience of unabashed nostalgia seekers
on a celebratory voyage around their best-loved turns, including a splenetic
version of Tent led by Edmondson, the wry 12-bar shuffle of Can Blue Men
Sing the Whites? and the Monty Python-esque Sport (The Odd Boy). They
wound up with a jolly canter through I’m the Urban Spaceman and
a suitably all-hands-on-deck finale of The Intro and the Outro.
Although performed with eccentric aplomb and received with great affection,
it was an anachronistic display to put it mildly. “See you in another
40 years,” Innes said as he waved farewell. That seemed a little
A blog by Fred Pipes:
and some photos
And there's a snippet of video here
(no peeking unless you are planning on buying the DVD when it comes out!)
Thanks to Fred Pipes, Squiddy, Sam & Janet Evening,
Roger the Saurus for their words.