The cynic in me thinks that Geoffrey Hayes starts wonderfully by playing, over and over again, Somewhere Over The Rainbow on a painfully lonely glockenspiel, both relaxing the mood and annoying the life and living soul out of the audience. An old man, dressed in black robes relishes the darkness, but reflects that rainbow fans both new and old have come to see him, and reluctantly disrobes and enlightens us. Geoffrey Hayes is that old man, looking decidedly out of place in his regulation yellow dungarees, but the voice remains the same, commenting on the event of Rainbow’s 20th birthday in 1992, when the show is fatefully axed.
We are swiftly taken through a nostalgic look at Rainbow, relating the show to world events that happened in the three decades of the programmes lifespan. Highlights include the story of how Geoffrey came to live with George, Zippy and Bungle, and several photos of the stars attempts to find work after the high points of their career.
Ultimately though, the Over The Rainbow show falls flat due to a lack of real material. For the most part, we are subjected to simple multimedia footage with a half-hearted and weak commentary. The real high points are when we are eventually treated to a glimpse of the three lifeless puppets, and the sing along to the theme tune that ends the show. Particularly disappointing is the fact that three potentially superb comic characters are left in a cupboard throughout; without modern gags and delivery, this remains a well-meaning but unengaging nostalgic trip through a formerly great kids TV show, ending with that infuriating Glockenspiel, appealing only to my inner cynic. One for the die-hard fans only, I’m afraid.