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Manchester theatre reviews

One Man Bond

Written and performed by Brian Gorman

at The Commercial Hotel, Chester

Reviewed by John Waterhouse September 2017


Brian Gorman is a writer immersed in 60’s and 70’s popular culture and his feeling for the period comes through in this very entertaining one-man show. That is not to say however that the period from the 80’s through to the present day is short changed because One Man Bond does what it says on the packet; all 24 official (i.e. Eon Productions) James Bond films are covered, more or less equally, in the space of an hour.


With so much background material to draw from, the inevitable question was how was it all to be condensed? Every Bond film is at least two hours long, typically set in at least four different countries with a main villain, a lead henchman, minor henchmen, a main love interest (and usually) several minor love interests as well), a host of minor characters, some comedy sidekicks and the stock trio of M, Q and Moneypenny (and often more besides).


One Man BondOne Man Bond makes no attempt to describe the plots or give synopses but rather seeks to give a flavour of the spirit of each film, with snippets of iconic scenes and notable dialogue. A couple of lines from the opening credits song of each film are sung (or occasionally hummed) to ensure the audience keeps up to speed with which film is being depicted and the show proceeds at break-neck pace as we are led some of the most iconic scenes in movie history and reminded of a few less-well remembered gems, with few props and no background sounds or music.


Clearly a lot of effort has gone into capturing the mannerisms of so many characters and the constant split-second changing of voice and expression are impressive. To those us who really know our Bond’s, some renditions are quite brilliant. A personal favourite was holding the expression on Max Zorin’s face at the end of ‘A view to a kill’, as he realises he is about to fall from the top of the Golden Gate bridge; absolutely spot on.


Another was Bond’s (ie. Sean Connery’s) exchange with Blofeld in ‘You only live twice.’ It was Donald Pleasances interpretation of the character here which provided the main inspiration for Dr Evil in the Austin Powers films and it was captured perfectly in One Man Bond. There were one or two misses. For me, Brian did not quite get Telly Savalas’s Blofeld from ‘On her Majesty’s secret service, or George Lazneby’s Bond for that matter, but overall, the standard is very high.


A lot of the fun in this show comes not just from the trip down memory lane but experiencing the juxtaposing of the very different approaches to Bond by the various actors. The suave, well-spoken Roger Moore voice lends itself to amusingly deflating high drama whilst the hard, no-nonsense Sean Connery is a perfect contrast. The finest observation for me however was how softly spoken Pierce Brosnan’s Bond was, sounding almost effeminate compared to the others. I had never picked up on this watching the 90’s era Bonds but seeing the interpretation here alongside the others made it instantly recognisable.


One Man Bond is a very funny show, performed with real feeling and attention to detail. If you’re not a Bond fan, you might struggle to get it in places but it will surely inspire others to check out some Bond films they might not have seen or perhaps re-visit some classic Bonds not viewed for some time. One Man Bond will return.


The next mission for Brian Gorman is The Shanklin Hotel, Blackpool on Fri 3rd and Sat 4th Nov, as part of a 'dinner and a show' package. Details from The Shanklin Hotel, Blackpool or log onto

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