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Simon Day turned it all the way up to 11 as the god-like musical icon Brian Pern, a one-man amalgamation of Spinal Tap, Peter Gabriel and pretty much every other “veteran rocker” in existence.
In a nutshell
Brian Pern – the show, not the man – has no business being as good as it is. After all, taking the mickey out of deluded rocker types is really too easy, and was already done definitively well by Spinal Tap. At best, Brian Pern should have been a sketch, or a one-off comedy. Instead, it keeps returning, and keeps getting better. Last night it went up another notch, because Suranne Jones was in it, and the presence of Suranne Jones automatically elevates anything by at least 34%.
She’s a bit like Olivia Colman in her ability to move from serious drama to silly comedy at a moment’s notice, and she was marvellous in the role of Brian’s younger, outspoken (ie, terrifying) wife Astrid, who was plotting against Brian’s gutter-mouthed manager Farrow (a similarly winning Michael Kitchen). As ever, Simon Day himself was pitch-perfect as the gormlessly successful rock god, recovering from his heart attack and ready for big, big things. Prog never dies.
What's the verdict?
You know the most poignant/funny/sad thing about Brian Pern (the show AND the man)? The fact that, even as we chortle at the foolishness, many musos of a certain age will genuinely feel nostalgic for everything he stands for, in this age of Bieber and Beyonce. Sigh.