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Stage Dragon Review: Paul Kerensa At The Backroom Of The Star Inn

Published on: 8 Dec, 2018
Updated on: 8 Dec, 2018

by Hugh Coakley

Paul Kerensa’s book Hark! The Biography of Christmas.

The Guildford Fringe and the Backroom of the Star Inn does it again.

Another brilliant show in a cracking Guildford theatre to a sell out audience.

Yes it is basic, it is the back room of a pub after all, but it has such a good feeling. You might have to shift your seat about to let others in but you are close to the actors and it works.

Paul Kerensa’s one act play Three Wise Men followed by an hour of stand-up comedy and carols was perfectly housed and a great laugh.

Apparently it is a true story. In 1842, an Englishman, a German and an American walked into a cabin – and created the modern Christmas. Or, as he confided, three true stories combined into one slightly less true one.

Alexander Perkins (recent winner of the British Independent Film Festival Award for Best Actor, regular in BBC’s The Office and ITV’s Law & Order UK) plays Charles Dickens. Jennifer Masters (GSA graduate, who was in the film Miss In Her Teens with Ian McKellen and Simon Callow) is Prince Albert. And Bob Hartman (legendary storyteller, author of the acclaimed Lion Storyteller books) plays Washington Irving.

The play bowls along keeping the audience laughing with puns and facts.

And then the man himself. Paul Kerensa is original and hilarious. He kept up a stream of engaging banter about family, dog poo, Brexit, choir boys and the fact that he doesn’t have a belly button (also true – he showed us) and it was a first step into this year’s Christmas season.

You can’t help feeling he is a really nice bloke and very funny.

Paul Kerensa’s stand-up routine at the Backroom of the Star Inn kept the audience laughing.

He got lots of participation from the audience, willing participation because he didn’t put anyone on the spot. We sang carols and nursery rhymes – yes, even a Guildford audience – to different tunes from The Lion Sleeps Tonight to the theme tune to the Benny Hill Show.

It was a cross between Dave Gorman and I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue.

It’s only on for one night which is a great shame for this five-star show.

 

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