|Index||3 reviews in total|
This is a wonderful hour of Peter Ustinov standing onstage in front of an invited audience of then-celebrities and being himself. How hilarious can you get! My wife and I knew Peter very well indeed, and often enjoyed dinners with him when we got all this non-stop entertainment between and during all the courses. (Some people can't stop smoking while they are eating, Peter could not stop joking.) Because he and I worked together for some time on a film script, I enjoyed countless hours and days of one-to-one 'audiences with Peter Ustinov'. I can assure anyone who is interested that Peter was the same offstage as on, and of all the comedians I have known (and they have been plenty), he was the only one of whom that can be said. (For instance, the hilarious comic Frankie Howerd whom we knew well was extraordinarily morose in private.) All of Peter's humour came straight from his inner core. He did not have to work at it, he was it. When we were supposed to be working together, he could not concentrate on work but instead would constantly break off and tell me more hilarious anecdotes, and he and I would rock from side to side with uncontrollable mirth. He was so unaffected as a person that I felt perfectly at ease cracking my own jokes at him and, believe it or not, he laughed. He loved all humour, however inferior to his own. I don't think I have ever known anyone who could see more funny sides to every situation than Peter could. He had a hyper-dimensional awareness of angles of humour on anything and everything. He was a walking, talking, real live humour-tesseract (look up tesseract and you'll see what I mean). Apart from the fact that Peter is gone, and has been gone from us for a long time now, and cannot be replaced, there was one other sad thing I experienced upon seeing this DVD again. I had watched the programme when originally broadcast and this was the first time since 1988 that I had seen it again. The sad thing is seeing all the faces of the many then-celebrities, who were all household names at the time known to every television viewer, and realizing how little most of them are remembered today. How quickly the famous vanish into the dust! Even Peter is now unknown to younger generations, who upon hearing his name would only reply: 'Peter who?' Watch and learn, all ye humourless ones. Peter is surely someone of whom we can honestly say: 'We shall never see his like again.' But at least we have this DVD.
This puts to shame most of the shows that pass as entertainment these
days. Peter Ustinov was (sadly) a great raconteur, actor, director and
humanitarian. Not to mention a gifted mimic as well.
The only reason I haven't this 10/10 is because if you buy the DVD, as I did when it first came out, its only 50 minutes. There must be more footage available surely.
I completely disagree with the previous reviewer this is very funny, and the audience is laughing because PU was a very funny man. Between displaying his wit and musical talent he also impersonates Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon, John Huston and Charles Laughton.
I have watched this, to be honest I've lost count, but certainly dozens of times. In the 80s shows (which were the best) only Dudley Moore's, Billy Connelly and Kenneth Williams come any where near to matching Ustinov's show.
Sure he is probably not to everybody's taste, and his stories are mainly about a different era, so if in doubt watch some clips on Youtube.
For me though its a classic show, performed by, well I've got to say it, a great man.
This type of show was once the stronghold of people armed with
anecdotes and stories who are known for their speaking ability. Now it
tends to be anyone half famous and tends to be dominated by musicians
whose careers are needing a bit of a kick start. Back in the 80's it
was more of a classy and honed affair rather than the more gaudy shows
we get now in the "Audience With" shows. Anyway, back to the show in
question here where we have that distinguished gentleman Peter Ustinov
in front of a celebrity audience mostly just sharing witty stories.
It is a classy affair but it has dated somewhat when you think of what would be shown on a Saturday night now I find it unlikely that his rather privileged stories and experiences would sit well alongside X Factor and the like. How you take this depends on your outlook I suppose because Ustinov is not a standup comedian (no matter how much the audience and the laughter track beg to differ) so his stories are mostly more amusing rather than hilarious. It is fortunate that he does have a good presence as a rather eccentric uncle with a good education and lots of stories. The studio audience perhaps overdue their appreciation of him but he is still a good speaker and he doesn't have many flat moments.
Overall then a classy audience with Peter Ustinov that will seem pared down from modern "Audience with" shows have been. It isn't hilarious but Ustinov is a good speaker and his presence and unique style make it an interesting and quite entertaining show.
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