Stop Messin’ About at The Etcetera Theatre: Review by Stephen Vowles 

Simon Kingsley’s homage to Kenneth Williams is a pure delight capturing aspects of the comedy actor’s life in fine detail. The facial expressions are all there, the flared nostrils, the guffaw – all examined in a complimentary and substantial fashion. 

It’s clear that Kingsley has done his research. William’s heritage, the fact-checking about his upbringing, the bullying by his father, how he got his start, all add to the story which made Williams such an intellectual entertainer without any pseudo-snobbery. Kingsley’s own stage presence matches that of Williams – full of flair, aplomb and panache. 

Packed with whimsical touches, he achieves with ease the task in hand of telling a life story. Williams was a renowned name-dropper and this part of his character is included well from Orson Welles to Noel Coward, Maggie Smith to Alec Guinness; all are weaved into the story and plot as Williams’ career took off.

Kingsley delivered a very wordy script that at times did falter, leading to trepidation and hesitation, which did throw his timing off but he soon recovered with a song. He also informed his audience about Williams’ radio days and the outrageous antics of Jules and Sandy on the very popular Round the Horne radio show where Kingsley had the task to put over how clever a wordsmith Williams was.  

When we get to the section about the Carry On films, of course all the innuendos are there; the naughty seaside postcard humour. This is a fabulous section of the monologue with anecdotal reminisces that are just lovely to hear including a sincere and touching nod to Barbara Windsor. 

Closing his one-man show with a well performed rendition of the French parody song “Ma Crepe Suzette” which got the expected and deserved laughter. Kingsley has done well with this respectful tribute to the unique man called Kenneth Williams. A scintillating look at a well-loved star’s life and career. Sentimental  and heartfelt, but not OTT. 


Photos by N.G. Photography   

There is a second performance of Stop Messin’ About this evening (Sunday  10th October) at 7pm at The Etcetera Theatre, 265 Camden High Street  London NW1 7BU. Box office 020 7482 4857 [email protected]


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