THEATRE REVIEW: Dead Funny starring Katherine Parkinson


WHERE: Vaudeville Theatre

WHEN: 2/11, runs to 4/2/17

This consistently joyous revival of Terry Johnson’s 1994 hit comedy is notable for including the second example of full-frontal male nudity we’ve seen in London theatreland in less than a week.

  • Read on for reasons including a fabulously camp supporting role by the League of Gentleman’s Steve Pemberton

First it was Harry Melling in Glenda Jackson’s thrilling King Lear at the Old Vic and here it is lead Rufus Jones during an intentionally excruciating erotic massage with the commanding Katherine Parkinson (The IT Crowd and Humans, pictured above) which reveals much about the state of their marriage.

There’s star-casting in this five-hander with Jones’s fine central turn allowing Parkinson and The League of Gentleman/Inside No 9‘s Steve Pemberton the chance to shine. The latter as an intentionally camp member of a club which also includes Jones who celebrate comedians of yesteryear much to the bemusement of Parkinson’s character.

Especially hilarious is a Benny Hill skit involving couple Emily Berrington (also in Humans with Parkinson) and Ralf Little. He, Jones and Pemberton are especially good when imitating their idols.


The plot involves two disintegrating marriages, a comedian’s death, a meeting to celebrate his life and the drop of a not-at-all surprising bombshell.

We’ve seen League of Gentleman cast members including Mark Gatiss (The Boys In The Band) and Reece Shearsmith (The Dresser) in the last few months and we described the latter as the funniest comedy in the West End at the moment. We think Dead Funny just beat it to that accolade.

  • Picture via Facebook courtesy Dead Funny. Tickets
  • Enjoyed this review? Follow its author on Twitter @NeilDurham or catch us on Facebook

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