Review: Richard Digance at the Harlow Playhouse

Entertainment / Mon 25th Sep 2017 at 07:27am

Richard Dig

By Martin Elven

RICHARD Digance returned to The Playhouse on Thurday as part of his current tour celebrating 50 years in showbusiness.

Back in the 80’s, Digance was a near permanent fixture on British television, appearing in his own show and as a guest on several others, leading ‘Whispering’ Bob Harris to refer to him as a national treasure.

It would appear Digance is not the draw he once was, as The Playhouse was barely half full come showtime, a fact noted by the man himself as he strolled onstage.

Digance’s humour is observation based, and gentle in it’s approach. Given that the majority of the audience were of the same generation as the man himself (he did note that it looked like a doctors waiting room in front of him), and the propensity of a British audience not to roar with laughter unless everybody else does, meant the appreciation was limited to chortling rather than guffaws. Nevertheless, his material was warmly received.

Towards the end of the first half, Digance brought on Eric Sedge, a folk musician friend who has joined him on this tour. Much more a straight musician, Eric has a marvellous voice and some poignant lyrics, and was a more than adequate counterpoint to Digance’s humour.

And therein lies the dilemma. I wasn’t really sure what the show was trying to be. In medieval times, Digance would have been referred to as a minstrel – in more recent times, a troubadour.

He doesn’t have the outright humour of, say Mike Harding, nor is he a straight folk musician. He is very much a niche performer, and for his fans it’s probably exactly how they want him.

However, for the casual attendee, it wasn’t quite enough to convince me that a return trip is a must. All that considered, there are still far worse ways to spend a wet Thursday evening.

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