(from the STAGE)
It has been a year since a clearly weakened Joe Longthorne took his first steps back on stage after a succession of career threatening illnesses and operations. Thankfully he is now on fine enough form to be touring for five months then returning to this same theatre for a three week run at the end of the summer.
His voice is nearly back at full force, his energy levels enough to sustain him through a full length set. Whilst he admits “I’m still not brilliant on me pins” few newcomers to his show would realise what he has been through to get back here.
With a ten piece band and two backing singers, he has clearly forgotten nothing about how to present a Las Vegas style show.
“Half me act’s dead,” he jokes slipping into an Arthur Askey impression alongside Perry Como and Gene Pitney. To a point he is right. His fans clearly still want the Tom Jones and Shirley Bassey or Dorothy Squires and Ken Dodd duets. It is Johnny Mathis and Norman Wisdom they are after, so who can blame him for not including the likes of Robbie Williams or Michael Buble? Maybe one day he will not have to do the impressions. His own voice is good enough - listen to Mary In the Morning or As I Love You if in doubt.
His between song banter is as unpredictable as ever but again it is lapped up by his fans, who still shower him with gifts, flowers and standing ovations at both ends of his performance.