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Last Updated: Wednesday, 26 October 2005, 10:01 GMT 11:01 UK
Press views: Little Britain Live
David Walliams and Matt Lucas rehearse Little Britain Live
Daffyd (R) appears to be not 'the only gay' on the stage
Critics have raved about the stage version of Matt Lucas and David Walliams' multi-award winning TV series Little Britain.

The opening night at Portsmouth Guildhall offered fans their first glimpse in the flesh of treasured characters Vicky Pollard ("Yeah but, no but"), carer Lou and fake wheelchair user Andy, and unconvincing transvestite Emily Howard.

Reviewers said the show delivered all the familiar jokes and catchphrases expected by the audience, while also introducing new characters.


Firm favourites such as Lucas's trio: the Asbo pin-up Vicky Pollard, self-styled fat-fighting supremo Marjorie Dawes and Dafydd, the only gay in the village, all delivered.

Walliams is particularly effective in his surly roles, such as his university secretary who thinks nothing of insulting students on the phone and within earshot (of Dave, a blind Brummie, she says: 'You'd pick him last for the darts team').

Often grotesque, obvious and gaudy, it has all the promise of being this winter's most successful pantomime.


It's a large-scale show, filled with all the options for snarl-ups that computer-generated projections, high-wire stunts and headset microphones can present.

But Lucas and Walliams inhabit their familiar grotesques with an ease and, more importantly, a relish that belies their small-screen sojourn.

Director Jeremy Sams has helped add theatrical finesse to a show that's far better than the catchphrase-loaded cash-in it might have been.


You can tell an act has hit the big-time when grown men in the audience are prepared to copy their frocks and women happily ape the shabbiest shell suits.

David Walliams and Matt Lucas rehearse Little Britain Live
'Lay-dees' Florence and Emily are no more convincing in the flesh
The high point for many women in the audience was Walliams as Mandelson-ish parliamentary aide Sebastian stripping naked.

Analysts can easily spot social comment in some sketches, but Little Britain is as keen on honest vulgarity as making a political point. At their best, however, they do both.

By the time this reaches the capital next year there are going to be many more devoted lookalikes in the audience.


We all know they have won awards and sold squillions of DVDs but when you see them here, among fans so die-hard some are dressed as "lay-dees", you truly understand just how adored they are.

When each sketch starts, there is a moment of hushed silence, then a murmur of recognition before people turn to each other and say, "Ooh, I love this one!", then clap wildly.

Everything you'd hope to see, you see... and more.


The special vomit-simulating machines didn't deluge forth quite when they should have done, and there were a couple of missed cues and some dodgy moments with one of the microphones, but in every respect that matters the much-anticipated UK tour of Little Britain got off to a triumphant start.

Such is the artistic ambition and attention to detail that you see why they're hailed as rare comedy gold.

Using groundbreaking technology to project computer-manipulated imagery, they've attempted to emulate the TV series in slickness while going for a larger, more crowd-pleasing style. It works.


There wasn't a dry seat in the house - fans were wetting themselves with laughter.

All the favourites were in top form - and without the restrictions of TV censorship, we were treated to the most daring material yet.

Matt and David proved that not since Rik Mayall and Adrian Edmondson's Bottom has a TV series been turned into such a great live show.

In pictures: Little Britain Live
26 Oct 05 |  In Pictures
Little Britain given wax doubles
10 Oct 05 |  Entertainment
Little Britain DVD sales top 2004
15 Jun 05 |  Entertainment
Double TV win for Little Britain
07 May 05 |  Entertainment
Little Britain wins Bafta double
17 Apr 05 |  Entertainment
Little Britain tops sketch poll
03 Apr 05 |  Entertainment


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