The Grumbleweeds Show - North Pier, Blackpool
Not many things last 49 years these days. Marriages, reputations, dynasties and fortunes all run the risk of fading out long before their half century.
But not The Grumbleweeds. Founder members Graham Walker and Robin Colvill first teamed up in Leeds in 1962 and saw the group expand to five at its peak and contract back to two in more recent years.
If they could find a few copies of their unlikely collectable pop album debut – In a Teknikolor Dreem (yes, that’s how they chose to spell it) – and flog them on ebay they could probably afford to retire.
They probably could anyway but Graham and Robin come from the generation of performers who don’t retire until there’s no-one still out there to see them – and judging by the reception they received for their opening night at North Pier Theatre that’s going to be quite some time yet.
For most of their career the “c” word in their lives has stood for “comedy”. More recently and ominously in Graham’s life it has come to stand for cancer. Throat cancer to be more exact. Despite being told by doctors not to perform for nine months he is back in action after about that many weeks. Determined not to let the duo’s fans down he vowed to be there in time for the curtain rising.
He kept his promise even if it meant re-writing some of their act to accommodate his temporarily affected voice and not being able to fire on all cylinders. But who else would make “I’ve had an operation” into a comedy catchphrase and get away with it. If adrenaline is medicine he will be 100 per cent fit in no time.
For the most part The Grumble-weeds’ act is a greatest hits of their tried and trusted moments – Robin’s straight man to Graham’s slapstick one, Robin’s wafer slim Cher and Prince impressions to Graham’s chubby social club secretary and general fall guy.
And it’s all lapped by an audience of all ages who love every moment.
Sharing the show are the Houghton Weavers, the popular Lancashire comedy and folk trio who likewise know just what their audience wants and gives them in it spoonfuls peppering traditional folk songs with popular tunes and a smattering of harmless humour.
n Every Monday for the season.