REVIEW: Jeffrey Bernard Is Unwell - Avenham Park Pavilion, Preston

Dean Taylor at Jeffrey Bernard
Dean Taylor at Jeffrey Bernard
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After 10 years touring summer Shakespeares around the region, Preston-based Dean Taylor Productions opt this year for something completely different.

Except that there is something of the Falstaff character about the title role in Keith Waterhouse’s funny and poignant tribute to his drinking pal and fellow scribe, Jeffrey Bernard.

He was the legendary denizen of Soho’s Coach & Horses and, like Falstaff, an unrepentant womanising drinker and gambler.

Not someone you might instantly warm to . . .

The trick of his pal’s play then is to make him appear more human, and humane, than all the characters that orbit around his uncertain path through life.

It is a ploy clearly understood in this production, and in Taylor’s portrayal of the central role.

He easily affects the louche and languid air of a man whose life flashes before him, and us, in a series of strip cartoon incidents, featuring characters supplied by Tim Scragg, Rebecca Charnley, Miriam Edwards and Tony Bond. The play tours until Saturday.

David Upton