Review: Hancock’s Last Half Hour

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WHEN asked if he had come to Australia for business or pleasure, Tony Hancock announced he’d arrived there to die instead. And this is precisely where we find him: inside a small, grubby Aussie hotel bedroom surrounded by Vodka and sleeping pills.

ASSEMBLY ROOMS, GEORGE STREET

Reflecting on his life as a famous British comedian who ‘didn’t know any jokes’, he pours over a book of scathing reviews that have condemned him as a boring, washed-up clown whose time is up.

He admits to beating his wives, refers to Sid James as “John Wayne with syphilis” and quotes Freud while still trying to make some futile sense of the universe. Written by Heathcote Williams, the style is so in keeping with Hancock’s, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Hancock actually did say the things imagined by Williams in the last half-hour of his life.

Portrayed to perfection by the master of the one-man show, Pip Utton looks eerily like Hancock at the time of his demise (aged 44) even though Utton is, in fact, in his sixties.

There are plenty of laughs, sure, but there’s an element of shame behind them all as Hancock swigs back yet another large glass of straight Vodka, this time headed for the final blackout.

Run ended