Kenny Carries On

1996: Edinburgh Festival

Kenneth Williams - Jeremy Jameson
Postman & all other parts - Dermot Jones

Written & Directed by Aidan Steer

Kenneth Williams, late star of the Carry On movies, contemplates life's personal and professional frustrations alone in his flat on his final birthday

Characters and incidents from his past come back to haunt him as he drinks himself to an exhausted, final sleep

Alone in his flat, Kenneth Williams celebrates his birthday, looking back on 62 years of professional achievement and personal inner sadness.

It is a bitter sweet walk down memory lane, from Army life and early years in repertory to his final world weariness with the Carry On comedy genre which made him a household name.

The postman's arrival with a new script, Carry on Vicar, prompts his conflicting responses; distaste at its predictable vulgarity, fond memories of camaraderie on and off the film set, pain over being public property. Other, more intimate, recollections crowd in - the joys and agonies of homosexual encounters.

Staged by HH Productions, and written and produced by Aidan Steer, this poignant portrait is not documentary but mostly imaginary, its incidents created to convey the essence of the man or loosely derived from hints and fragments in Williams' own diaries. Well crafted, this memorable piece has the ring of authenticity.

Jeremy Jameson blends vivid humour and touching sensitivity to the title role, cleverly giving a likeness which avoids impersonation, while Dermot Jones ably evokes disturbing characters from the past.

Review (c) Brian G Cooper (The Stage - 1996)