Arthur Smith: SYD

By Ron Bingham

Arthur Smith is telling the story of Syd, his father, who was a policeman after the second world war, where he had served at El Alamein and spent some time in Colditz Castle prisoner-of-war camp. He tells the story in anecdotes from his life, reworked old music-hall songs (accompanied by Kirsty on the piano who also assists on some of the stories), and notes from a book of old memories that Arthur persuaded his father to write before be died.

The show begins with images of old adverts from magazines of the 40s and a music hall medley that the entire audience joined in with. Arthur starts the show by gives us some stories of his childhood and a potted history of his parents’ early experiences before he was born and growing up with the greatest dad in the world.

Sadly, we only got to see two thirds of this beautifully poignant eulogy, before the fire alarm sounded and the entire Pleasance Courtyard complex was evacuated. The last section was a juxtaposition of Arthur’s father going into battle and being captured at El Alamein, while at the same age, Arthur was teaching French in Paris, joining in the protests of the time and having some jolly hijinks. What we saw of the show to that point was excellent and I can thoroughly recommend it.

SYD is on at Pleasance Courtyard until August 17