Jeremy Lion is quite possibly the worst children’s entertainer in the world and it’s precisely this that he makes him so thoroughly entertaining.
As he shambles on stage, belching and bleary-eyed, Lion immediately conjures up long-suppressed memories of the inappropriate entertainers that we’ve all met in our tender young years – sweaty, alcohol-scented and thoroughly wrong – and he proceeds to compound this image with regular booze breaks, off-colour comments and general degenerate behaviour. However, the audience aren’t the only ones confronting repressed childhood memories, as Lion is clearly dealing with his own issues through performing his dad’s last children’s show.
Based around a fun-packed day of fun, What’s the Time Mr Lion? combines the traditional elements of kids’ show – teddy bears’ picnic, puppet shows and singalongs – and wonderfully subverts them to hilarious effect. The end result is tragically beautiful and full of laughs but is definitely not for kids. There is a point where it would all be acceptable for younger minds but when he starts disemboweling his bovine friend, Beef Richards, and handing out bottles of whisky you know we’ve crossed a line.
While What’s the Time Mr Lion? is consistently funny, the real highlight has to be the puppet show finale, which is so alcohol-fuelled it is unbelievable – no man should be able to down two cans of Special Brew and continue to function!
What’s The Time Mr Lion? is, itself, a great concept but with Lion’s talent taking the lead it is close to being a masterpiece.