1983, Magazine Articles

Kevin Turvey & The Young Ones – Smash Hits 1983

Smash Hits April 14-27 1983



Stationed at the rear of the Fairfield Hall’s ample stage tonight are three musicians. They wear grisly maroon jacket’s and dark glasses and supply soothing sections of super-club jazz when the actors are off changing costumes.

Right now they’re flicking idly through the local papers as, perched awkwardly before a mikestand in a check bomber jacket, shrunken flares and stained running shoes, is a daft urchin-like individual named Kevin Turvey. A cracked social misfit from Redditch, Kevin is one of Rik Mayall’s earlier creations (coming to light in a Kick up the Eighties about two years back). He’s also our host and his main concern is that “the one and a half thousand people out there are having a bit of a great time“.

They are, of course, all of them. Even Kevin – who’s virtually unknown to a lot of the audience – is bringing the house down. There’s little doubt about it, Rik, Ade Edmondson and Nigel Planer (who minus the less popular “Mike”, make up Channel 4’s The Young Ones) are as widely known and well-loved in Britain as just about any pop musician you care to mention. Typically, this occasion on their national tour is completely sold out. They’re not approached as ‘actors doing comedy sketches’; they’re welcomed as Old Friends. As Kevin saunters offstage, a character with long greasy hair and a great coat shambles on. He has to wait a full 30 seconds for the applause to die down.

Neil (Nigel Planer), the gormless vegetarian hippy, promises a “high energy set” but sadly, “isn’t feeling too well”. He mumbles awhile about “hitching up to the gig”, and having “heavy relationships with chicks”, distributes lentils to outstretched hands – “one each, okay?” – then gets the stalls to “bash their lentils together”, the circle to “make sea noises” and the balcony to supply “seagull sounds” in order to perform a song so staggeringly weak that even he seems ashamed of it.

Vivian (left) and Neil: firm believers in the joys of reasoned argument

He drifts off, dejected, to make way for Adrian Bastard (Ade), a John Cleese-like irritable cabaret artiste who executes a number of ill-advised stunts such as “eating a whole bottle of Dot Lavatory Cleaner in one go”. These are interspersed with the kind of jokes I’m not actually allowed to print.

Kevin returns with his close friend Keith Marshall (an unhinged new wave musician – Ade again). They deliver a brief play with paper bags over their heads during which Keith breaks into song about alien life forms to a shrill Casio accompaniment.

Neil reappears, and has just turned up, when a piercing guitar solo announces the arrival of Vivian (Ade once again) who gives vent to a zesty self-penned punk classic entitled “Lentil Nightmare”.

Rik reads a particularly moving piece of poetry

And finally there’s Rik (Rik of course) – the camp, would-be-working-class, ‘political’ rebel – who’s wearing a jacket emblazoned with anarchist signs and a preposterous red beret. He tries desperately hard to convince us that life on the road is “mad” and “potty”, celebrates Cliff Richard’s 66th Birthday, reads “surrealist poems” about Thatcher and eventually, along with the others, winds up with a rousing musical finale – “Congratulations”, “My Generation” and suchlike. Just imagine the dancing.

We’d started leaving, quite content, when Kevin popped back on. He hoped we’d enjoyed the jokes, although they were “mostly stolen of course”.

Who cares? They could hardly be in better hands.

Mark Ellen

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