HE wrings his hands, cuddles his bedraggled teddy and mumbles his approval. Life is good for the impossibly hazardous “Mr Bean”.
Hence it is also good for Midland look-alike actor Steve Keefe, the man who fell into his new role almost by accident after a chance comment from a golfing buddy.
What started out as a bit of fun could soon –two years later – become a full-time job.
The prospect has Keefe wringing his hands in anticipation. Television appearances, live stage shows and public appearances – of which he has only had a taste to date – are going to become the norm for the Solihull mortgage advisor.
The resemblance is uncanny and some say Keefe is more Mr Bean than Rowan Atkinson, who brought the character to life in the hit comedy television series that spawned 14 episodes, two surprisingly successful movies and a cartoon series.
Atkinson, who based Bean on his idea of “a child in a grown man’s body”, has long since hung up his tweed jacket but the character is being kept alive by Keefe who has just been signed up for a tour of five major cabaret shows rolling across the country next year.
Starting at the Hackney Empire on June 12, the show will take “Mr Bean” to St Helens, Rhyl, Doncaster and Scarborough and there is talk of it coming to Birmingham’s Hippodrome.
Not quite Las Vegas but a long way from Keefe’s humble beginnings playing the role for a laugh at his local golf club.
Keefe, a 45-year-old Brummie, started his career working in the hotel industry spending time in London at a Jewish golf club in Potters Bar, before moving on to work for large companies such as Trust House Forte, Allied Lyons, Greenhill Taverns. At the age of 27 he switched roles, moving into the financial services industry but it was only two years ago that he discovered his talent as a Mr Bean impersonator.