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ROWAN ATKINSON LIVE

Review by Michael Jacobson

Stars:  Rowan Atkinson, Angus Deayton
Director:  Tommy Schlamme
Audio:  Dolby Stereo
Video:  Full Frame 1.33:1
Studio:  A&E
Features:  See Review
Length:  55 Minutes
Release Date:  August 14, 2007

“Tommy IS in trouble.  Recently, his behavior has left a great deal to be desired.  He seems to take no interest in school life whatsoever…quite frankly, Mr. Perkins, if he wasn’t dead, I’d have him expelled.”

Film ****

If Rowan Atkinson isn’t the funniest man alive, I don’t know who is.

Thanks to the dutiful releases of A&E, fans have been able to enjoy the British comic’s delightful performances in Not the 9 O’Clock News and Mr. Bean.  Now, a classic bit of his live stage show has been preserved on DVD for fans around the globe.

Rowan Atkinson Live showcases his so-called “one man show” as performed in Boston back in 1991.  It’s been seen in truncated form on Comedy Central, but now, you can witness Mr. Atkinson’s ten indelible sketches uncut and in full gut-busting glory.

Fans of Bean will recognize the bit “It Started With a Sneeze”, as the hapless character tries to make good in church.  But Atkinson delivers from both sides of the pulpit.  His take on the wedding feast at Cana in the New Testament is a scream, as is his portrayal of the devil himself, welcoming his new clientele into hell.

You’ll howl as he gets tormented by an invisible man, or even more so, as he goes to ferocious work on a set of invisible drums.  He plays three characters on an unfortunate soul’s wedding day, which will be a day he’ll never forget…but for all the wrong reasons.

He demonstrates a bit of Shakespeare in tights, has a time calling roll in class with some unusual names, and even begrudgingly accepts an acting award…for another actor.

Though he may forever be known for playing Bean, Atkinson got his start with his theatrical “one man show” (that here also features the very funny Angus Deayton), and for this 1991 concert, he recreates most of his classic bits from two legendary performances in the 80s.  It’s nice to see the Americans can laugh just as hard as the Brits!

Count me in amongst the laughing Yanks.  Rowan Atkinson is a comedic genius, and all one has to do to fully appreciate that is sit back and enjoy him doing what he does best…finding laughter in the common everyday occurrences, and showing us there’s a bit of Bean in us all.

Video **

Shot on videotape, the presentation is about what you would expect…decent enough, but with some of the usual limitations of the medium.

Audio **

The stereo soundtrack is adequate…spoken words are clean and clear throughout, which is all that’s required of the show.

Features **

There are three additional sketches on the disc, including my personal favorite about a chap on his first date, as well as a biography and filmography for Rowan Atkinson.

Summary:

Rowan Atkinson Live is a laugh riot from start to finish and from top to bottom.  I’m so glad to finally have this classic comedy performance on DVD!

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