Rowan Atkinson Live!
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It's a series of discrete sketches much more akin to Gilda Radner's 1980 GILDA concert than, say, an evening with Bill Cosby or Chris Rock. Unlike GILDA, however, which largely recycled familiar characters from another medium, the material here is entirely original. Indeed, it's so unexpectedly novel that you'll be glad you bought this video, whether you're a rabid Atkinson fan or you've never heard of him.
Perhaps more than any other single work of his, this concert video showcases all of Rowan Atkinson's nuanced talents. From the sublime "Welcome to Hell" sketch in which Atkinson has the duty of being a sort of genteel maitre d'-cum-camp-counselor for recently-arrived souls, to the encore sketch in which he wordlessly and near-proplessly makes you believe he's playing an elaborate drum set plagued by a rambunctious cat, Atkinson's range is put fully on display here.
A concern for non-Britons is whether they'll really understand the humor. On this score, Atkinson triumphs again, because he's deliberately chosen universal events to build his sketches around. Of the bits on offer, only two might wade in unfamiliar waters. One centers around the nature of being a headmaster at a British public (private) school, and the other deals with the difficulty of staying awake during a church service and may not be fully funny to non-Christians.
These possible difficulties aside, Atkinson is far easier to add to your video collection than most comedians, because he deliberately avoids topical humor. Instead, he crafts timeless sketches that will be just as funny 50 years from now as they are today.
I'd seen the US version long ago on television, then managed to aquire a copy of the UK version, not knowing they were different, and I've thought I've been dreaming the drum skit all this time. It's nice to finally have everyting in a nice DVD presentation. This is one of my favorite comedy DVDs.
This is genuinely one of those tapes you can watch over and over and over, and never ever get sick of. I remember how I'd almost memorized a few of the sketches having watched them so many times! (Yeah, it sounds lame, but if you watch this work of art, you'll see just what I'm talking about.)
My personal favorite acts are 'Pink Tights and Plenty of Props', 'A Warm Welcome', the Indian restaurant one (I forget the name) and the priest/bestman/father-in-law one (again, I can't remember the name). But really, not one of these acts won't make you fall off your seat laughing; they're all absolute and pure genius. If you still have a VHS tape player in these days of high-end digital media, make it a point to buy this right now.
Incidentally, the reason I don't remember the names of so many acts is that I haven't seen this tape in years! Literally about five or six years, since it got lost and VHS became relatively obsolete.
People of Amazon, please please PLEASE bring this title out on DVD, for the sake of the general community at large. The reviews for this product are phenomenal, as they should be, and I have no doubt that the DVDs will sell like hotcakes. I for one am in love with Atkinson's genius acts that I haven't seen in years, and will lap it up straightaway.
Buy this product.
My favorite of the skits is "A Warm Welcome" in which Atkinson plays the Devil ("...but you can call me 'Toby'...") welcoming new arrivals. The best line (and the one that got the most laughs) in the show is when he summons "the French" out for special treatment. I am also fond of the amazing physical dexterity involved in "Invisible Man" and "A Final Bash". He is always great as a sadistic straight man, and his portrayal in "Fatal Beatings" is delightful. He returns as another evil headmaster in "No One Called Jones" which also shows his ability to handle more scatological humor with dexterity. For all around amusement, his portrayal as a hammy amateur actor in "Pink Tights And Lots Of Props" is delightful, and went over hugely well in front of a college audience, as you might expect.
Five stars without question, although there are a few off color and offensive excesses I could have done without. Noteworthy also is the performance by Angus Deayton, the straight man in the two man sketches. This is a comic tour-de-force, and is not to be missed.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
it's a great material for the students of theater and comedy.. learned a lot of things from this man!Published 1 month ago by Marla
This 120-minute live act of this legendary man from Bristol is so good that it can be used as a tool for comedy schools. great talent!Published 2 months ago by Robin Tanner
It's so nice to watch this beautifully crafted comedic act by the best comedian ever! funny and classic lines !Published 2 months ago by debra manning
got the talking version of Mr. Bean in this dvd set.
his intellectual and witty jokes are really great.
I love Rowan Atkinson, and I already owned this on VHS. But as I get older, so do my old tapes, so I decided to replace it with a DVD. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Matthew
the best live act of the famous knight and funny man of England! watched this several times and it keeps getting better! not second was wasted!Published 5 months ago by Richard Brokaw
this comedy genius made his name known in the United Kingdom by performing ultra funny acts like the one in this DVD! made me laugh for hours!Published 5 months ago by martha oliveira
this two disc DVD set is a must watch for all students of theatrical theory. Atkinson's genius lines and facial expressions propelled his acting career to the top!Published 5 months ago by Dale Hill