Suggs performing his What a King Cnut, A Life In The Realm Of Madness at The Theatre Royal Nottingham on Sunday 18th March 2018.

Images and Review by Kevin Cooper

If you were put on the spot to choose your perfect dinner guests, Graham McPherson aka Suggs, front man from iconic group Madness, would have to be very high up on your invite list. Open, humble and a natural story teller, he delivered a well paced performance at the Theatre Royal last night when he delivered his second autobiographical show, Suggs: What A King Cnut, A Life In The Realm Of Madness.

Very few people can command an audience for two hours while making it feel like ten minutes, but Suggs managed it. Appearing on stage sat on a throne in a black wig and white mac, he made quite the first impression as he set the scene for the events leading up to his 2016 Glastonbury appearance where having been drinking all night he invaded the stage during Primal Scream’s set to “liven it up a bit”, got covered in mud, and lost a shoe.

He took us right back to when he was a teenager and a string of failed career attempts; his apprenticeship as a plasterer consisted of two stolen buckets and a trowel from Woolworths, a career change as a painter and decorator involved stolen overalls and as an apprentice gardener with nicked gloves and a wheelbarrow.

There was his memory of his appearance on This Is Your Life, when band member and saxophone player Lee Thompson presented him with the rare Prince Buster’s Wreck A Pum Pum album which he had stolen from Suggs twenty years earlier, and being asked to close the 2012 London Olympics with The Who, One Direction and the Spice Girls and then when it was the turn of Madness, in front of over one billion viewers he forgot the first line of Our House.

He moved seamlessly from show biz tales to family stories; from the witty and funny to the emotional with his engaging mix of memories. There was the excellent running gag about Brian May’s hair and a melancholic section about the seemingly hopeless search for his long lost sister he didn’t know he had.

His words were interspersed with a few hit songs, all accompanied by his friend Deano Mumford on the piano for the likes of My Girl, House Of Fun, Blackbird, his tribute to Amy Winehouse and Blue Day, the tune he penned for Chelsea’s 1997 FA Cup Final song.

Finishing with Our House, this house definitely belonged to Suggs last night when everyone’s favourite Nutty Boy deserved his standing ovation.