Bob Blackman's Tray

★★★★
comedy review | Read in About 2 minutes
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Bob Blackman's Tray
Published 16 Aug 2016

You thought you were in Edinburgh at the Fringe? Nope, you're at Stoke On Trent Variety Club to witness a tribute to Bob "The Tray" Blackman, the Penge comedian who used to sing 'Mule Train' whilst banging a tray on his head (he really did, check it out on YouTube).

Johnny Sorrow and Richard Drake have been peddling their unobtrusively oddball oeuvre at the Fringe for the past few years, often slipping under the radar as they're not fussed about doing much in the way of promotion – besides, rumour has it that they'd do the show even if the room was empty. But beneath the oddities on stage lies an incredibly sharp and cunningly written piece.

Sorrow's nostalgic routine laments the lost days of the old school comedian, name dropping the likes of Roger de Courcey. It's a beautiful combination of musical hall variety and minor breakdown. And how often do you see an impersonation of Bernie Clifton atop his ostrich these days? Sorrow's big dream? To get back on the bill at Dudley Social Club.

He's joined by Richard Drake all the way from Newcastle under Lyme, the continually balaclava'd introvert with a fine line in one liners.

In between the pair's routines are simple small gags, such as the man who hasn't bothered to write any material, and to top off proceedings there are a couple of old fashioned sing-a-longs. As for the finale, you can probably guess what that involves, trays at the ready.