Review: An Evening With Gervase Phinn, King’s Hall, Ilkley – 17/06/2011

19/06/2011

When? Friday 17th June 2011
Where? King’s Hall, Ilkley (Bradford Theatres)
Who? Gervase Phinn

Well-known author and former Ofsted inspector Gervase Phinn brings his well loved theatre act home to Yorkshire, recounting amusing anecdotes and his unique spin on life in general, particularly focusing on his experiences in a wide variety of schools across the country.

Phinn has been an accomplished public speaker for many years and his easy delivery and charisma instantly won over the welcoming audience. After warming the audience up with a well-trodden round of familiar jokes, Phinn moved on to his aces – recalling a series of anecdotes from the poignant to the hilarious; particularly memorable are his recounts of conversations with children at a Harrogate public school and his time in his home town of Rotherham. It is in his gloriously enthusiastic re-telling of these occasions that I can see why he is so popular, particularly with education professionals (I am a teacher myself).

Many will undoubtedly find Phinn to be rather on the twee side, indeed my colleague Harry Zing – who while understanding Phinn’s appeal – found him not to be his cup of tea. In fact the one word scrawled on his notepad was ‘whimsy’, and yes, perhaps things got a little Sound of Music at times but I, as a member of the profession, related to his experiences and loved every minute.

As wonderful as Phinn is, this is not for everyone and it was clear that the vast majority of the audience in the sold-out King’s Hall were both familiar with Phinn and the education industry. Addtionally, as what Harry calls a ‘professional Yorkshireman’ Phinn was loved by the locals before he had even set foot on the stage, helping create a buzzing atmosphere for him to savour.

If this is your bag, it doesn’t get much better. Listening to Phinn is akin to listening to your favourite Grandad recalling the old days; homely, endearing and often very funny.

- Rebecca the Guest Writer
Chewingthescenery.com

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