The showman returns

Jimmy Cricket
Jimmy Cricket

It seems just days since I saw veteran entertainer Jimmy Cricket headline Preston’s Christmas panto.

He must have enjoyed his time at the Charter Theatre so much because he was back for more.

This time though he’d left the panto behind and embarked on an afternoon of stand up and variety.

And his ‘Value for a Tenner Show’ was well named – with singing, dance routines and, as it turned out, some jokes – told by what turned out to be a gag master.

It’s been decades since I saw him on the telly – and I didn’t realise that behind the trademark hat and boots Cricket is a highly skilled stand-up comedian.

His relaxed style and ability to react to and read his audience was a joy to watch. And when he was on stage it joke after joke after clean joke.

The theatre was respectfully full for the single appearance in Preston and the audience, mostly families – with an admittedly high concentration of grandparents - loved it.

I hadn’t heard many of the jokes before and Cricket’s delivery had many cracking up. Some highlights included the one about the old woman who asks ‘Can you see me across the road? to which the man replies ‘Wait a minute and I’ll cross over’, or the man who walks into a barbers and is asked ‘do you want it cut round the back?’ to which he replies in exasperation ‘I was hoping to get it cut in the shop’.

Young dancers who took part in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs panto with Cricket also made a return to the stage for several routines which broke up the performance.

And Cricket’s wife May also entertained the crowd with her covers of the likes of Dusty Springfield.

At times technical problems caused the sound to pack up - but Cricket joked on regardless like a true showman.

You can also catch him at Freckleton Social Club on March 8.

James Reader

Jimmy Cricket - Charter Theatre - February 8