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Lenny Henry's Birthday Bash - review

By Charlotte Callear | Dudley entertainment | Published:

He may nearly be 60 but Sir Lenny Henry has still got it in him.

The comedian from Dudley tickled audiences with some blasts from the past including sketches from The Lenny Henry show and a host of new ones for his special birthday show that aired on BBC One.

These were woven into a light-hearted look back through his upbringing and career with long time friend Trinidadian-British journalist, Sir Trevor McDonald, who famously surprised him on an episode of Tiswas when he was impersonating the ITN presenter.

The new sketches were hit or miss as he transitioned easily from being Stevie Wonder cheerily singing Happy Birthday and playing piano outside the former BBC studios, to Stormzy rapping to get into his own show, to Childish Gambino in a parody of his hit song This is America before becoming Black Panther.

A highly anticipated impression of Michael Curry could have stole the show but it dragged on and not in the way it was meant to as he poked fun at the bishop at Prince Harry's and Meghan's wedding.

The true highlight was when he described his mother. In his eyes, she is Godzilla with a handbag, a warrior and someone who will knock him through a wall.

Despite how it sounds, he spoke of her with great admiration and the way he slipped in and out of a thick Jamaican accent and back to Black Country in an instant to portray what is was like in his childhood home was hilarious.

Growing up, he discussed how she would pile food onto his plate and tell him to 'hintergrate' with the local people.

Viewers and long time fans took a nostalgic trips down memory lane as clips from early in his career were shown including Tizwas and The Lenny Henry show.

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This is before he opened up, not for the first time, about his transition into acting and Shakespeare in particular. As a Dudley boy, he says he thought Shakespeare was only for posh people but he continued to say it made him as he went on to be a critically acclaimed Othello, which plucked at viewers' heart strings as it painted a picture of how far he has come.

There were some heart-warming moments in the hour-long show as some of the more serious milestones in his life were highlighted including when he was knighted and when he co-founded Comic Relief.

The show comes ahead of his birthday which is actually on Wednesday (Aug 29).

Charlotte Callear

By Charlotte Callear
@CCallear_Star

Reporter based at the Express & Star's Wolverhampton head office

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