Hit Me!

Hit Me! The Life and Rhymes of Ian Dury is a play wonderfully written by Jeff Merrifield, and well carried by Jud Charlton (playing Ian Dury) and Josh Darcy (playing Fred Rowe). There isn’t much of a storyline or a plot, but you don’t really notice until it’s over. The play is more of a study, and a celebration, of Ian’s life as told by the man who may have known him best of all.   Several of Dury’s best known hits are performed in the show, cleverly intertwined into the backstory exchanged by the two actors. Although there may have been more c***s and f***s than all the other words added together, the story seemed to have the ring of authenticity.

The play is written cleverly, sharing intimate details of Dury’s life while also capturing him at three distinct stages of his career. I was thankful for the comic relief in the second half, perhaps owing to the heavy subjects addressed in the first.

The characters were accessible–tangible even. At times the audience became a third character in the play, sometimes as a friend on the listening end of a conversation and often as the audience member of one of those memorable Ian Dury and the Blockheads shows. Ian Dury fans were definitely in attendance; they sang along, they danced, they laughed at all the right moments and clapped the loudest. They also had a hard time moving away from the bar to their seat before the show started and after the intermission (or “interval” as may be used the universally used term in London). It is understandable that these live music lovers may have felt a little out of place in a theatre seat. It is interesting to note that the Leicester Square Theatre used to be a live music venue, which I understand, hosted Ian Dury in his day.

The set was cleverly designed, and the lighting design helped transport the actors and audience between locations. I did appreciate the attention to detail taken in costume design and the time it must have taken to put all the hats back in place after each show…

We were told at the interval that Fred Rowe was actually sitting in front of us with Ian Dury’s children, though it was unknown if all of his children were in attendance. They looked like a handsome bunch, but I didn’t have the nerve to ask them what they thought of the show–if Drew hadn’t been with me I might have. But I know how I embarrass him when I talk to strangers…

Keep in mind that I am no theatre critic. I am sure there are plenty of good ones out there, but the chances that you will know how wrong or right I am are slim. So, take my word for it. It was fabulous.

3 responses to “Hit Me!”

  1. Yeah. I really am embarrassed when you talk to people! Lets remember women, like children, are supposed to be seen not heard.

    I mean good god woman, do you really think I am embarrassed when you talk to people?

  2. Strangers. You don’t like it when I strike up conversations with strangers. If it doesn’t embarrass you, it must annoy you.