|Corby Theatre - Corby||21 March 2000||by Paul Cocking|
Having so very much enjoyed Rick at Solihull the previous week, we decided to journey over to Corby for another evening of Rick's unique brand of entertainment.
Solihull was great - a sold-out appreciative theatre, with Rick in great form, both on the keyboards and with his stories.
A repeat performance would have been most welcomed - but Corby was a special night to remember, even for Rick I suspect!
We were mystified to see the stage decorated somewhat spookily with tombstones, a grandfather clock, a sewing machine (which Rick introduced as his "Singer"!), the axeman's chopper etc. Rick started off by explaining to us that there was a play being put on at the theatre, and his stage crew had decided to nick the props and decorate the stage with them.
However, as he was explaininig this, he suddenly pulled up with a look of total disbelief on his face, and then proceeded to wet himself laughing - Rick had spotted a lady sitting in the front row with a small white dog on her lap! This was all the encouragement Rick needed to immediately break away from whatever he had planned, and come down off stage to meet the canine Oscar. Rick had the meagre-sized audience in fits as he talked to Oscar, and proceeded to tell him some doggy jokes. This set the pattern for the whole evening, Rick constantly asking where Oscar had got to, his owner seemingly having the run of the theatre - at one stage, Oscar was sitting in the control room at the back of the theatre, and Rick was talking to him through the window. Being a small audience, I think Rick felt perhaps even less inhibited than usual, and took more risks than usual with some of the doggy jokes he told.
This extra dimension of the evening's entertainment did not distract for one moment from the other regular stories that Rick recalled, nor from his excellent musical performance.
One of my personal favourites is the Nursery Rhyme Concerto - as well as being amusing, it demonstrates Rick's virtuosity and musical talent. From the set list you will see that Rick normally concludes the evening with a rendition of Debussy's Claire de Lune. In honour of Oscar, Rick decided to end the Corby evening in a different way - by playing How Much Is That Doggy In The Window? in the style of Debussy. This just had to be heard and seen to be believed - it was not a case of simply picking out the melody of the well-known tune and filling it out with some Debussy-style sweeps - off the top of his head, Rick strode through different modes as he picked out intricate variations on the theme, something mere mortal performers would have spent hours to arrange in advance. If one thing confirmed to me that this man is a musical genius, this was it - along with the rest of the crowd who looked at each other in amazement and admiration as the piece was played.
As Rick said, there weren't many of us out there, but we all had great fun - and that's what it's all about.
Come back to the Midlands soon, Rick!