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The Ben Nickless Variety Show... Review by Alex Belfield ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Ben Nickless is not only a Nottingham panto legend but he's also incredibly gifted, a great singer, charming, a well crafted variety comedian and incredibly popular as stage door at 10.30pm proved. Rare!
He's an 'old-school' entertainer who can captivate an audience with impressive vocals, great gags, improv, visual comedy and classic schtick. Collectively, it's a beautiful feel-good act.
In 25 years of visiting the Nottingham Theatre Royal, other than Doddy, I don't think I have ever seen a standing ovation so loud and warm for a stand-up or variety act like Ben. Quite remarkable.
Ben was joined on stage by the brilliant ventriloquist Steve Hewlett - he never fails. A world class vent who deserves to be constantly touring the world with Arthur Larger. Thrilled he could do the show.
Equally as polished was Steve Royale of Peter Kay's Phoenix Nights who has boundless energy and perfect northern comedy timing. Comedy pro.
Nickless stayed true to his word and delivered the epitome of an impressive variety bill including magicians, singers, a live band but ultimately he drove the show.
The show also featured Ruby Washington, Paul Cobley & MATRICKS.
Ben Nickless is best known in Nottingham for his appearances alongside David Hasselhoff in Peter Pan, Lesley Joseph in Snow White, Christopher Biggins in Aladdin and more recently in Beauty & The Beast with Sherrie Hewson & Ben Richards.
The show began with a montgage of the above who clearly adored working with him.
Most of his 'bits' were panto inspired and received an equal reaction for their creative brilliance tonight. Give the people what they want - and he did.
Where Nickless strikes gold, beyond the panto predictable, is his voices - quite sensational in places.
He's a brilliant mimic who embodies the likes of Cliff "I've not done this in two years" - to the exceptional Trump impression with a thunderous gag that the crowd adored.
Bravo to Ben for putting on this show. It would have been much easier to go solo but Ben proves, if done correctly, and made relevant for 2018 audience, the appeal of spec acts and variety is as strong as when this temple of showbiz business was first built.
Review by Alex Belfield for Celebrity Radio, 8th September 2018
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