With trademark fez and flustered face, Tommy Cooper was a unique performer who earned his place among the legends of Great British entertainment with endearing humour and a gift for epic failure.
But behind the affable stage character was razor sharp comedy talent, and whether his tricks worked or not, Cooper himself on stage was always sheer magic.
Now a show recreating this much-loved comedian’s life is coming to the White Rock Theatre on Sunday (May 22) at 7.30pm as part of a tour which has captivated audiences for two years.
In the central role is Liverpool actor Daniel Taylor who shines as the showbiz genius he once impersonated as a little boy at family parties.
His portrayal has been described as ‘breathtaking’ in the production which celebrates Cooper’s life from early days in the army right up to the height of his television stardom and official status as national treasure.
Daniel, who has performed extensively in Blood Brothers and more recently as John Lennon in Through A Glass Onion in Liverpool’s Epstein Theatre, is supported by Gareth Jones (formerly tv personality Gaz Top) as Miff Ferrie, and Sharon Byatt as Gwen Cooper.
Daniel said: “Tommy Cooper was given that wonderful and rare gift to make people laugh even just by standing there.
“His comedy was innocent and appealed to all ages.
“His jokes will stand the test of time and will last for generations to come, as has been proven by the audience reaction to our show.
“He was also an incredible magician who worked tirelessly at his craft especially when he purposely made the tricks go wrong.
“With regards to my interpretation, it happens Just Like That!
“I simply aim to bring him back to life. The innocence, mania, look, and of course that infectious laugh of his. There will simply be no entertainer like him again.”
Having discovered early on that ability to do impressions Daniel enjoyed drama at school and went on to study at the Webber Douglas Academy in London.
“I’ve been a jobbing actor ever since,” he said.
“And I felt like Tommy Cooper was one of those characters I’d love to play, but would never get the chance because I’m not famous – so why not do it ourselves?
“I talked with Ian Carroll about it in a pub and two weeks later he pushed a draft through my door and I started going through it.
“And now we have done this show with the blessing of the Tommy Cooper Appreciation Society as well as his daughter Vicky.”
It was launched in Liverpool then opened at the Edniburgh Fringe Festival and began touring to great acclaim.
“Apart from anything else we try and respect the memory, and tell the story.
“We are in it for the long haul, we want this show to grow, and we want to keep moving forward.
“I thought maybe it would appeal to people of my age, but we get a lot of kids coming to see it – sometimes they think I am Tommy, and I have to explain he is no longer with us but still is an iconic figure.
“I want to bring him back to life as much as possible.”
The Tommy Cooper Show is at the White Rock Theatre at 7.30pm on Sunday, May 22.
Tickets £17 plus concs on 01424 462288 or www.whiterocktheatre.org.uk.