THE dead are risen at Birmingham’s Alexandra Theatre – Hancock’s Finest Hour has brought Tony Hancock back to his city of birth and seen life breathed back into him by Paul Henry, best known to most as ‘Benny’ from Crossroads.
The play is set in a BBC dressing room before and after an interview with John Freeman – the man who made Hancock cry on television.
During his wait, Hancock is visited by a series of characters - both real and imaginary.
They tease and cajole him into self examinations, rants and denials - probing into all the ugly recesses of his soul.
These multiple roles are played superbly by Claire Bloomer as Hancock’s wardrobe girl and David Matthews as his dresser.
Paul Henry’s performance is exemplary. You can almost see Hancock’s ghost nodding in approval.
This could be a harrowing tale - Britain’s highest paid comedian was driven to drink and destruction by his own demons.
Fortunately the cleverly written script by Colin Bennett is packed with enough one-liners to keep you laughing, reminiscing and crying all at the same time.
There are some delightful touches created by director Chris Hayes - especially the car crash.
This play does not disappoint but leaves you feeling sad that Tony Hancock is no longer with us – or is he?