JOHN HEWER INTERVIEW

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JOHN HEWER INTERVIEW

A huge fan of Tommy Cooper, John Hewer decided that it was high-time the comic genius deserved a tribute show to do his life’s “work” justice. Here, in an exclusive interview with “Pulse” author Steve Rudd, John chats about what it’s like to be following in Tommy’s footsteps with “Just Like That!”…

Hi John, how are things?

I’m a very, very lucky person. Hard work pays off, folks! The past year has seen my West End debut as a scriptwriter, and my debut as a published writer. It has also seen me taking the everlasting fun and frolics of Tommy to old and new audiences across the UK.

Yes, you’re currently on tour with a show inspired by the late Tommy Cooper. Is it a “tribute” show in the strictest sense?

It’s certainly best described as a true compendium of everything that made him so unique. Tommy was a very clever man: he saw a specific gap in the entertainment world and filled it after years of “training” whilst abroad during his army days, as well as working the club and cabaret circuits. He was actually a very accomplished magician. Akin to his contemporary Les Dawson, who had an act of playing the piano “badly,” he had to know exactly how the magic tricks worked to perform them “wrong.” One of the joys of watching Tommy boils down to you wondering, “Will this trick actually work?” That aspect of his act certainly helped make his brand of comedy timeless. It’s also inoffensive. You can watch Tommy Cooper with your youngest child, or your eldest relative, and there will always be tons of things that they’ll love. Unlike the majority of his contemporaries who were “on the scene” during the sixties, seventies and eighties, Tommy constantly returned to his touring roots. He was undoubtedly at his happiest when working with a live audience, which provided a certain quality and vibrancy that just can’t be captured through a camera lens. The fact that he continued working the smaller clubs right until his death speaks volumes. He loved it, and that is the essence of my show, because I’m trying to recapture the sheer magic of witnessing Tommy Cooper live on stage.

Have you always been a fan of Tommy?

Absolutely! I feel we inherit our “comic gene” from our dads, so it was only natural for me to fall in love with what is now called “Classic British Comedy.” Morecambe & Wise, Ken Dodd, the “Carry On” films, Peter Sellers… the list is pretty much endless from that golden era. Tommy Cooper fits in very well amongst those names. He carries an added nostalgic touch, too. He’s become a family favourite for many – especially at Christmas time. The fact that he died more than thirty years ago and is still so fondly remembered is fantastic.

“Just Like That!” will be performed at Spotlight Theatre in Bridlington on Saturday 17 June

Visit www.hambledonproductions.com for more details

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