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Brian Blessed review: A larger than life character who has so far led the most extraordinary life

PUBLISHED: 13:01 19 March 2019 | UPDATED: 13:01 19 March 2019

Brian Blessed. Photo: Supplied by Norwich Theatre Royal

Brian Blessed. Photo: Supplied by Norwich Theatre Royal

Supplied by Norwich Theatre Royal

Brian Blessed came to the Theatre Royal in Norwich last night to tell stories and anecdotes about his life with his booming voice.

Legend is a vastly overused word these days. So many people are referred to as a legend but don’t really deserve the moniker. Brian Blessed OBE is of course an exception.

A larger than life character who has so far led the most extraordinary life, met the most extraordinary people and travelled to the farthest corners of the world spreading joy, happiness and wisdom to people along the way. He is genuinely a legend in his own lifetime.

Tonight Brian came to the Theatre Royal here in Norwich to tell stories and anecdotes about his life with his booming voice, as always, turned up to ten.

With just himself, a comfy leather seat and a small table, he entered the huge stage to the Queen’s 1980’s hit ‘Flash’, receiving a rapturous applause from the sold out theatre. And of course, within seconds he had roared his Prince Vultan ‘Gordons Alive!’ catchphrase.

The celebrated actor and adventurer immediately had the audience in the palm of his hand and launched into his repertoire of tales, earned throughout his 82 years (and counting) on this planet.

Some I’d read in his wonderful autobiography, others were new to me, all of which were fascinating and entertaining. You see, he’s not just an actor who’s appeared in some of the finest West End shows in history, or an explorer who has climbed Mount Everest (at the age of 70, without oxygen) and trekked to the North Pole, he is also an ambassador for the arts, for the UK’s National Parks, for the environment and for animal welfare. He speaks with enduring passion about these things and deeply cares.

But also, amongst the tales of his wonderful adventures through life, there were heart breakingly touching stories including how he inspired the children during his time in the show ‘Cats’ by inviting them on stage from the audience, and his time with Sir Patrick Moore the day before he passed on.

I wonder how many successful people today would say Brian had a part to play, and how many interesting folk around the world have him on their speed-dial?

For me, it was just an absolute joy to bask in his company for 90 minutes and listen to the self-professed ‘King of the Voice-Overs’ talk, boom, roar and occasionally sing. And of course learn what the Queens favourite story is (here’s a clue; it’s one of Brian’s!)

He’s mad as a box of frogs, does not take himself at all seriously, and is the uncle or grandfather we wish we all had. Thank you Brian, you absolute legend.

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