Reviewer: Sebastian Farrell
John Challis is an actor with six decades of experience under his belt including an infamous stint at the RSC during the world cup final in 1966 and countless appearances on TV over a career also incorporating stage productions both in the UK and on Broadway. He is, of course, most famous for his rôle as Terrance Aubrey “Boycie” Boyce in Only Fools and Horses the sit com voted Britain’s Best Comedy by a BBC poll in 2004 and which ran from 1981 to 2003.
The title of the show is evidence that Challis is well aware of what his audience wants and it is not surprising that the anecdotes and stories from his time on the show dominate proceedings.The evening with is exactly that, two chairs a somewhat quiet and diminutive host and John himself retailing us with tales from his extensive and surprisingly full career. It may surprise some to know that there was life both before and after Boycie, Challis also starred with David Jason as a northern in the classic comedy Open All Hours for example.
The live elements are peppered with clips from his various appearances from TV and films and it is these that get the biggest laughs of the night. Challis can clearly spin a yarn and has a warm engaging voice when not in character but the audience seem a little restless until that famous cockney twang strikes and we hear the infamous Boycie laugh.
It is, in some ways, an evening of nostalgia shared with what feels like an old friend who was there at the time but that you’re meeting for the first time. Challis is engaging and well aware of his good fortune in helping create such a well loved character, he is happy to take questions which are almost all to do with his time on OFAH.
The evening concludes with the opportunity to meet John, have a picture and get signings which is, in some way, the highlight of the show. He seems to be totally grateful for the opportunity to meet fans afterwards and hear their stories.
An absolute treat for fans of Only Fools with stories that you may never have heard before, how the second series almost never happened and how Boycie got that ridiculous first name for instance, plus you get the opportunity to ask any burning questions to the man himself. The evening is a unique insight into the world of a professional and determined actor with over fifty years experience on how to make it, create much loved comedy characters and show the world you’re anything but ‘Being Boycie’.
Reviewed on 30th September 2015