Live Review | The Wheelhouse, Wombwell | Review by Allan Wilkinson
Bernard Wrigley considers himself first and foremost a singer of songs, despite his many other varied talents; a fine guitarist and concertina player, a raconteur and comedian, an actor and celebrity. Familiar to all who have followed the soaps over the years as well as being a well-known character actor in many a TV comedy show or film, Bernard is most comfortable in front of an audience with his guitar, his bass concertina and the wits he was born with. Tonight the ‘Bolton Bullfrog’ was slightly distracted by his surroundings as he played at the Wombwell Wheelhouse. As he sang a handful of familiar songs and read from some of his poetry books, you sensed that he was imagining one of these summer houses at the bottom his own garden. Such is the manner of the observational comic, ever aware of his surroundings as well as his audience. With an almost nostalgic trip down memory lane, the set tonight included a medley of songs the young Bernard would try to sing many years ago when he was just starting out, sitting on the edge of his bed strumming his Russian Cossack trying out such songs as The Four Seasons’ “Sherry”, Helen Shapiro’s “You Don’t Know” or even Astrud Gilberto’s “The Girl From Ipanena”. Mixing the unlikely genres of Northern seaside postcard humour and American country blues, Bernard allows himself to blend the two seamlessly with songs like Steve Morris’s “Some Bugger from Yorkshire”, Fats Waller’s “Your Feet’s Too Big” and Dominic Behan’s “Liverpool Lou” not to mention advice on what to do if the binman’s been and been and missed your bin! Finishing with the “Celebrity Blues”, Bernard treats us to a few blues impressions from the likes of Patrick Moore and Roy Hattersley, and with a mouthful of water, gave the front row an unexpected surprise. Another fine performance from one of our most enduring home grown personalities.