Jim Davidson

JOHN LAWSON Norwich Theatre Royal

JOHN LAWSON

Jim Davidson admits his main problem is that he says things that other people think and gets into trouble as a result.

And the premise behind his hilarious Vote for Jim tour - the policies he would introduce as prime minister - gives him ample opportunity to do just that.

Davidson has a very clear idea of social justice and isn't afraid to express it. In among the laughter, he makes sure well-right-of-centre opinion comes through loud and clear. A patriot to the last, he is fiercely proud of our armed forces, a man's right to defend his 'castle' and that the needs of our own people should come first.

With that in mind, he introduced two crew members from Caister Lifeboat to promote their appeal for a new boat and invited the audience to donate after the show.

Having such close ties to Norfolk through his work for the lifeboat and at Yarmouth's Wellington Pier has given Davidson a special relationship with Theatre Royal audiences.

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But would they hold his recent tirade against the burghers of Yarmouth and its faded image against him? Not a bit of it - his opening observation that the warmth of his reception obviously meant there were no councillors from the resort in the audience was cheered to the rafters.

And even when it came closer to home with the story of his run-in that very evening with staff at the Swallow Nelson Hotel, they united behind him, wishing they'd been as brave as he to stand up for their rights.

Where it does all rather fall down is that his extreme views extend to his xenophobic tendencies and, in particular, his unhealthy disregard for the rights and role of women in society. You could feel a collective bristling from the female portion of the audience at times but, of course, he is so personable he gets away with it.

However, it is a less-palatable side to his personality that does rather colour the way you regard the rest of his opinions.

Davidson says he is joking about going into politics but his version of brutal honesty could be almost refreshing in a parliament drowning in spin. At least he'd leave everyone, like the adoring sell-out Theatre Royal audience, with a smile on their faces.

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