Words in their mouths

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Paul Zerdin - Grand Theatre, Blackpool

There’s always been something a little bit spooky about ventriloquists. I mean, grown mean chatting away to dummies (or puppets, or dolls, depending on who the ventriloquist is/was and just what they prefer to call the stage companion there are/were chatting to). What’s it all about?

From the days of Music Hall to radio (yes, Archie Andrews somehow became a wireless success story) and through to chilling films like Magic with Anthony Hopkins at his best and Orville’s annoying desire to fly, there’s always been a fascination with the ancient art of voice projection.

Hardly surprising then that Paul Zerdin has become such a hit – though with the recent advances in animatronics he’d better watch out that his three puppets (his preferred term of endearment) don’t make a take over bid for the whole act.

Cheeky Sam, the doddery a deaf Old man and the “oo factor” Baby may seem to need a helping hand (literally) from him for most of their time on stage but how weird is it to see them all performing without him for the finale?

Thankfully should they ever decide to go it alone he can always rely on audience “volunteers.” Clearly not everyone had been warned not to sit on the front row – a firing line for the ever charming Zerdin to put words into their mouths.

He has certainly developed since his early days at the Pleasure Beach and on this showing there’s still plenty more to come.

Opening the show was comedy magicienne Mandy Muden whose send up routine revealed quite a talent under the spoof.