Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Beyond the Fringe, Dudley Moore, Jonathan Miller|
Beyond The Fringe (1961 Original London Cast)
Genres: Dance & Electronic, Special Interest, Soundtracks, Broadway & Vocalists
The Show that Ignited the Satire Boom of the 60'S. CD'S One and Two Contain, for the First Time Complete 1961 Show Recorded at the Fortune Theatre in London. Cd3 Contains the Cream of their Broadway Performances from 1962... more »
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The Show that Ignited the Satire Boom of the 60'S. CD'S One and Two Contain, for the First Time Complete 1961 Show Recorded at the Fortune Theatre in London. Cd3 Contains the Cream of their Broadway Performances from 1962 and 1964.
Some of the funniest stuff ever committed to vinyl
lexo-2 | 06/17/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The team of Jonathan Miller, Alan Bennett, Peter Cook and Dudley Moore was originally conceived as a potentially successful show for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 1960 - hence the name. None of them had ever worked together before, or not at any rate in this configuration, and each of them went into the project with some doubts. They ended up producing one of the most savagely funny comedy shows ever, a piece of work that was to play a large part in the transformation of the British cultural landscape during the 1960s. It's all very well (and true) to say that this stuff is still funny after forty years. It's more useful to put yourself back into the mindset of a 1961 audience, utterly unprepared for such a comic assault on the sacred cows of post-war British culture: dodgily reverential productions of Shakespeare; dreary and self-aggrandising prime-ministerial broadcasts by then PM Harold Macmillan; a devastating swipe at the cheery platitudes of governmental advice on what to do during a nuclear attack (basically, hide inside a brown paper bag); a brutal demolition of piously cliched movies about the sacrifices of world war 2 - these lads dished it out in spades. The laughter you hear on the soundtrack is not the cosy laughter of an audience hearing what it likes to hear, it's the guilty and almost hysterical laughter of an audience having its worst fears and suspicions confirmed and provoked.Fair enough, Dudley Moore (RIP) went on to make some dodgy movies. Jonathan Miller did some fine work in the theatre and in opera, but nothing quite as cutting-edge as here. Alan Bennett became an English (not British) institution. Peter Cook ended up with a reputation as the Guy Who Never Fulfilled His Promise - but none of these assessments are accurate. Between the talents of the four of them, they produced a comedy that has seldom been lived up to. They truly were the Bill Hickses of 60s England. As Michael Frayn points out in his excellent introductory essay, it's because they made the audience laugh at their own prejudices. Few have done so much, and they never slacked. (One of the sketches from the 1964 Broadway production, included here, confirms this, in a sardonic assessment of American culture and how-the-show-is-likely-to-go-down-there, still true today.)This is great comedy. We shouldn't imitate its content - we should strive to reach for the level of insight and the accuracy of target that they met. Mind you, it's still damn funny. My personal faves are the civil defence sketch and Bennett's stunningly vacuous sermon "Take A Pew", chunks of which I know off by heart. Good comedy is never cosy, and while this may seem like we've heard it before, bear in mind that nobody had ever quite done anything like this at the time - or, anyway, not so successfully. Genius."
BEYOND THE FRINGE. DON'T MISS IT.
lexo-2 | 03/02/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you are interested in a milestone in British comedy, then this is a recording that you can't afford to miss. It is the stuff of legend. 4 Young men, Peter Cook, Dudley Moore, Jonathon Miller and Alan Bennett took London by storm. These days we are used to politicians and authority being mocked but it was all new then. It would be unfair to pick out sketches as one should listen to them all. The sketches changed over the period that they were performed as it was written, unusually in those days, by the cast. The original cast took the production to Broadway after a year or so, and this proved the demise of it in England, as it was a near impossible task to re-cast it, due to the personalities involved. This is no disrespect to the actors who took over, they were on a hiding to nothing trying to take over from the likes of Miller, Moore, Cook and Bennett. The original cast got fed up with it in the end and so it finished. They all went on to other projects succesfully. Miller as a director (who also carried on a medical career,) Bennett as a writer (In my opinion the best living writer we have,) and of course, Peter Cook and Dudley Moore sometimes together. These four men were truly brilliant, and I leave the last word to the much missed Peter Cook, who years after 'Beyond The Fringe,' said of it, "I may have done things as funny, but never funnier." Sit back, pour yourself a large scotch and go with the flow, you'll love it.DAVID PIBWORTH (British comedy writer/Performer)"
Not just funny, a key cultural event
Jeffrey Sweet | NY | 03/13/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"When these four guys hit London, they transformed the British idea of what was funny. Prior to this, with the exception of radio's Goon Show (Spike Millgian, Harry Secombe and Peter Sellers dismantling the English language), British comedy rarely courted the outrageous. Enter BEYOND THE FRINGE, and the way was paved for Monty Python and the others. (John Cleese has said that Peter Cook is the only comic genius he's ever known and that Cook inspired him to go into comedy.) This recording was made within days of the opening of the show in London, and you can hear the fresh air coming into the theatre as the audience gasps and laughs the laugh of cultural release. Oh yes, it's very funny, even today. Some of the references are dated, but most of it holds up and puts most of what passes for sketch comedy today to shame."