Nicholas Parsons seems a thoroughly nice chap. He does throw in the odd expletive through his “Happy Hour” show, but apparently we shouldn’t be alarmed. Or as an old lady who he once helped to her feet described it: “during August isn’t everyone supposed to swear in Edinburgh”. Tonight is Parson’s last night hosting the show, before heading off for yet more more work onboard a cruise ship. At 86 years old, the hearing might not be up to former glories, but there’s charm aplenty as he leads the audience through an hour of banter, storytelling and guest slots.
Nicholas Parsons has been coming to Edinburgh for the past 10 years. Many of you will know him as the presenter of Radio 4’s Just A Minute show, or for previously hosting Sale of the Century on TV. His affection for Scotland, especially Glasgow, is in evidence here as story after story revolves around the antics of Scottish folk. Tonight the front-row of the audience, or should that be the civil service, give Nicholas little material to work with. However, it’s not long before he’s handing out the tubes of smarties and shining in the spotlight.
An hour long show for Parsons on his own would be too much and that’s where his guests help out. All are looking to promote their own Fringe shows, but that provides a great way to experience the diversity of Edinburgh’s Festival Fringe. This evening the impressive magician Ali Cook (with his magical goldfish) and the very talented cast of Showstopper! are the guests. The latters act revolves around improvising a musical, or a Shakespearian sonnet, from audience suggestions. It works. These were two great guests to end the 2010 run of Happy Hour with. Impressive too was the fact Parsons finds time to go and see the shows of his guests prior to them appearing on his show.
Nicholas Parsons’ “Happy Hour” may have finished for 2010, but you can be sure he’ll be back next year. Go see him then. A genuinely nice show.