Show: A Sockful of Custard
Venue: Pleasance Dome, Ace Dome
A Sockful of Custard took audiences on a journey into the colourful, sometimes frantic events that peppered the life of legendary British comic Spike Milligan.
This two-hander paid tribute to this comic genius, who would have turned 100 this year, bringing him literally, well almost, back to life, in this narrative-cum-sketch piece.
The opening sequence saw Spike being brought back from the dead as the audience first heard a voice from under a sheet and then soon got to see the body behind the voice, Spike himself.
Jeremy Stockwell’s energetic portrayal of the comedian was strikingly realistic as he replicated Spike’s idiosyncratic facial expressions that simultaneously teetered between the silly and the sad, as well as his voice, as he often mumbled, sometimes fading off into incomprehensible nonsense.
Chris Larner mastered the challenge of not only playing all the other characters, but the keyboard and guitar too, the music of which offered variety to the play’s narrative structure. The latter was presented in a clever meta format, in which one of Larner’s characters, the scriptwriter, interacted with Milligan. Sometimes Milligan got carried away with his crazy creative outbursts which the scriptwriter attempted to reign in, providing not only a serious contrast to Milligan’s foibles and antics, but also serving as a commentary on the discipline necessary to create a coherent piece.
Both Larner and Stockwell, who also wrote the piece, evidently love Milligan and they excelled at bringing across a man of great sensitivity, comedic prowess, but also a deeply troubled one to audiences, reviving memories in some, but certainly keeping them alive in those generations who do not know him.