Arthur Smith - SYD 5***** - One4Review
one4review | On 13, Aug 2019
Arthur Smith, the one with the gravelly voice, the one from TVs the Grumpy Old men.
Arthur has been playing at the Fringe since 1977 which takes some beating as records go.
This is a nostalgic story about Arthur’s late father.
Syd lived through an extraordinary era at the outbreak of WWII. He was shipped out to Egypt, taken prisoner at El Alamein, he ended up by a circuitous route in the notorious Colditz Castle.
Syd stayed on in the army after the war and had many more adventures before his return to blighty, where he settled into a career as a police officer.
Arthur tells the story of his life through a mixture of readings from his father’s diary, touching monologues and some songs of the era.
A wonderful composite of visuals and the spoken word draws a comparison between Syd’s time in the war and Arthur’s time in Paris during the student riots of the 60s at the same age.
Perhaps it’s an age thing, perhaps it’s a father son thing, but I was really touched by this poignant story. A few audience members reached for their hankies at certain moments as the story unfolded.
Arthur Smith is accompanied by Kirsty Newton on the keyboard, who also provides a wonderful range of supporting characters to the story teller and to PC Syd Smith as he patrols his beat near London’s Waterloo station.
The multi-talented Kirsty is also appearing elsewhere at the fringe in The Scott Walker song book
The elements of this show have been excellently put together to provide the audience with a wonderful piece of theatre.
It’s a joy. Go and see it.
Reviewed by Robert