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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
For those unfamiliar, Shirley Ghostman (AKA comedian Mark Wootten) claims to be in contact with the dead. In the course of his show we see him channelling princess Di, recruiting woeful would be psychics to his "spirit academy." (At one point getting a potential recruit to lay on-top of him so he can "open up his chakra") and mercilessly mocking clueless audience members who have been told they are there to see a real medium perform. Wooton plays Shirley to the max with all the false empathy and throw away phrases that those familiar with some of these so called mystics will have heard many time before "love and light be with you" is a favourite one that pops up. The narration is provided by Patrick Stewart, or someone who sounds exactly like him. The combination of these solemn tones, spooky music and Woottens ultra camp, blond, white suited creation ensure much merriment all round. Much recommended.
Marc Wootton is a genius, plain and simple. High Spirits has got to be one of the best executed dark comedies I've seen since Strangers with Candy. In a time when British comedy has become so ridiculously "wacky", we get a helping of High Spirits just in time. This is right up there with A League of Gentlemen and The Office. From my understanding, this show was going to BBC1 until Marc appeared on Jonathan Ross. I actually watched a replay of that episode on Youtube and thought it was brilliant. Apparently, the British public weren't amused and the Jonathan Ross show got a lot of complaints, so High Spirits never made it to BBC1. Thankfully, it made it to BBC America where we had a chance to enjoy this brilliant show. Now please bring us My New Best Friend also starring Marc. From what I hear, it is even funnier than High Spirits.
what can i say? i saw the DVD in a sale and purchased it for a mere £5, as i am a big fan of comedy series DVD's. i had never seen the show although i remember it being on TV... the very first episode had me laughing so hard it hurt. the section were he channels lady di was pure tear inducing, side-splitting hilarity, i practically feel off the sofa. i cannot remember the last time something made me laugh as much as this. marc wootton is a legend! he is utterly fearless and brutally shocking as his superb character shirley ghostman. sometimes you cannot help but squirm with embarrassment as shirley pushes the boundaries of taste and decency, this is certainly NOT for the easily offended! if you like your humour on the darker side, then i cannot recommend this enough. it sits nicely alongside the stupendously dark nighty night (julia davis is the female marc wootton, and marc also appears in both series of that!). i ran straight out and purchased cyderdelic (another comedy series staring marc wootton) on DVD as soon as i saw it was available, and again.. it is pure class. anyway, high spirits with shirley ghostman is a must buy!
This is yet another comedy series that has been totally forgotten about
- A big part of that was probably Marc Wootton being interviewed (in
character) on Jonathan Ross - he was either very drunk or acting drunk
incredibly well (its difficult to tell with Wootton as you will know if
you've ever seen this or Cyderdelic for instance!). There was a bit of
a fuss after this appearance in the media and his show was quietly
taken off the air - it has never been repeated.
Do you like Most Haunted? Or do you know someone who likes Most Haunted (or other shows of that ilk). Well if you like them you wont like this! But if you find them funny in any way you will probably love this! I cant recommend this enough - go and buy the box set and get his other genius series thrown in (My Best Friend).
You haven't seen anything like this trust me!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Marc Wootten is a GENIUS as Shirley Ghostman, a spirit guide who
channels celebrity spirits. This show, "High Spirits with Shirley
Ghostman" is a spoof of mediums (can you say John Edward?) and alleged
paranormal experts who make a living speaking with the long-departed.
Shirley Ghostman's appearance may be as funny, if not funnier, than the show itself. 'Her' approximate 6 foot+, 250 pound frame is ensconced with a white pantsuit, matching white cape and shoes, while her make-up consists of peach lip gloss, frosted eye-shadow, mascara and all I can describe as an Angie Dickinson hairdo: a blonde, puffy, to-the-shoulders bob-type thing (which may, or may not, be Marc's real hair...either that, or a dang good wig).
I've only seen one episode of this show, but I loved every campy minute of it. Not only did it feature a "slice-of-life" scene featuring Shirley visiting a local gym for a workout with a personal trainer, it ended with her engaging a live audience (who didn't quite know what to make of the whole shebang), and channeling the spirit of a cantankerous, ill-tempered and foul-mouthed Frank Sinatra (whose rousing rendition spoofing "My Way" was a hit with the audience).
Even though the show became a bit corny at times, if you're even a bit wary of the whole supernatural/spiritual contact thing, you'll appreciate this royal send-up.
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