About a month ago, massive images of 1990s comedian Jim Davidson's face began appearing on posters dotted around Glasgow, bearing the news that his latest theatrical tour de force, "adult pantomime" Sinderella 2: Another Scottish Romp, would soon be rolling into town. It didn't take long for the city's sharpie wielding pranksters to start making their own additions to Jim's smirking face.
Sadly for Jim, having "RACIST" and "CUNT" daubed across his forehead right next to his own stage door was not the end of his troubles at Glasgow's Pavilion Theatre. On Friday, the show's run there came to an abrupt end, with a statement citing "health and safety and staffing concerns" as the reason for its cancellation. However, it soon emerged that Jim had only gone and broken the "golden rule" of the performing arts – specifically the one about not fucking off to the pub mid-performance while still in costume and with the second half remaining. There were also allegations of abusive behaviour towards theatre staff, which Davidson strenuously denies. He has admitted the thing about slipping off to a pub over the road during the interval though, but is putting the blame for the show's cancellation on poor ticket sales.
Davidson has said his "Scottish romp" will never be performed again, which is a tragedy for everyone who enjoys watching has-been 90s entertainers make tedious knob jokes, painfully unfunny analogies about periods and "Asian shopkeeper" impressions that should have died with Davidson's career.
It's just possible that you may have missed the hit touring production that was Sinderella, Jim Davidson's original X-rated spin on the panto classic. Either way, this was the sequel, a brand new "strictly for ADULTS ONLY" production, which promised to be "saucier, sexier and even more sensational" than its predecessor. It was also set entirely in "bonny Scotland", providing an endless ream of parochial, shortbread tin nonsense for the "story" to reference amid the dick jokes.
Beyond a short spell in HMP Barlinnie, it looked like about the most unappealing way possible to spend two hours in Glasgow on a Saturday evening. But my complete lack of self-respect and morbid voyeurism eventually got the better of me and I caught one of the show's final performances before it became consigned to the annals of "adult pantomime" history forever.
The poster for the show alone could keep an undergrad gender studies class occupied for months, with Jim's unnerving smirk topped only by the pained, forced smile on the woman half his age whose legs he's clutching on to – the kind of gratuitous, Carry-On style sexism that's no longer a mainstay of popular culture.
Thankfully, Jim Davidson isn't a mainstay of popular culture anymore either, despite somehow clutching victory in Celebrity Big Brother last year. Davidson does have his fans though, and while the theatre was far from sold out, there was a decent enough showing of pensioners and middle aged couples who'd forked out £20 for the privilege of watching their comedy hero cavort around on stage for two hours making jokes about wanking.
Most of Jim's reference points are set firmly in the 1990s, given that jokes about Linford Christie ceased to be topical about then. The token "Scottish" theme meant continual references to Braveheart were as predictable as they were mind-numbing, while the show's musical repertoire included choruses like "We're all alcoholics, and we have lots of fun / So shove the fucking English up your arse!" Say what you like about Davidson, but he sure knows how to appeal to the Glasgow audience.
This show would have been bad enough had it been performed competently, but it continually veered into oblivion as no one could quite remember their lines. That seemed ostensibly to be half the fun though, as the actors exclaimed to each other, "we need to find someone with a script!" or "we need to rehearse more!", to fits of onstage laughter. At least the backing dancers, who were either the object of Davidson's leering eyes (the women) or nod and wink homophobia (the men) throughout, were professional enough to have a grip on what they were doing and managed to, you know, actually complete their choreographed dancing.
Obviously Davidson sets out to offend and his audience have a certain expectation of getting some of his edgy, boundary pushing jokes that the banter-police at Ofcom, the Equality and Human Rights Commission and the tastes of commissioning editors and the general public don't allow on television anymore. The plot itself focused on Sinderella's bid to go to the ball to meet "Bonnie Prince Long Cock". The twist in the story – SPOILER ALERT – is that Sinderella can't go to the ball because, get this, she's on her period! This led on to what was one of the most unrelentingly awful scenes of the entire show, with Davidson adopting a faux-Asian accent as he mimicked being a shopkeeper who wouldn't sell her any tampons. The punchline involved something about a naan bread, which had the audience in hysterics. Asians! Periods! Long Cocks! I didn't know which to laugh at first.
Despite running into trouble for broaching the subject last year, Davidson didn't shy away from making a gag about his Operation Yewtree arrest either, telling two of his onstage companions that they had "better fill in a consent form, 'cause I don't wanna get nicked again".
The whole performance was punctuated by references to the pub over the road, with Davidson regaling the audience with tales of how the cast had drunk the bar dry earlier in the week, how much he was looking forward to a pint after (or indeed during) the show, and inviting everyone over for a drink at the end. Little did he know at the time that the same pub would end up being the show's downfall. Much like Jeremy Clarkson, a performer known for goading the Political Correctness brigade has had the curtain pulled down not for his outlandish opinions, but for his behaviour. Unlike Clarkson, I doubt there would be much publicity value in a Guido Fawkes style intervention to get him back on the stage.
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