Inside No. 9 Week – Bernie Clifton’s Dressing Room Review
by K. Silverthorne
‘Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith’s performances were incredible, depicting their characters in a way that makes the audience love them both, despite their differences.’
Director: Graeme Harper
Cast: Reece Shearsmith, Steve Pemberton & Sian Gibson
Synopsis: In the 70s, Northern double act Len and Tommy (also known as Cheese and Crackers) stormed the stages, but then Tommy walked out of the duo and they have not seen each other since. Now they are reunited for one last time for a final gig in front of an invited audience.
Review – SPOILER ALERT
Inside No.9 is back with another episode – Bernie Clifton’s Dressing Room leaving no viewer with a dry eye. The episode captures the relationship between a double act as they reunite after 30 years, showing how far they have fallen apart since they last met. Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith’s performances were incredible, depicting their characters in a way that makes the audience love them both, despite their differences. Whilst watching the episode, you become sucked into the mystery as to why the duo separated, and what actually happened in the dressing room.
The story takes place in a church hall, surrounded by abandoned drama props and costumes and starts with Len walking in, seeing a clearly uncomfortable Tommy. From there, the duo discuss what has happened to them and the circumstances of their reunion. This creates a sense of pity for Len as he appears to be more excited about the event than Tommy.
However, the episode is almost split into sections, as it follows a pattern of them performing an old sketch of theirs and then revealing a piece of information about themselves/the falling apart. The audience gets whiplash from being entertained by the outdated performances to suddenly being told vital pieces of revelatory information.
Ultimately, the final moments of the episode are the best out of the episode, as Tommy finally snaps and tells Len the real reason why he left – to help him escape his alcoholism.
The revelation at the end of the episode that Len has actually passed away blows the audience away, due to all the pieces and hints finally fall into place. The episode, however, ends with a heart wrenching dance between the two to the tune of ‘Tears of Laughter’ – a staple in their old acts.
Overall, the episode is an excellent piece of TV, depicting a whole range of emotions and I would definitely recommend this to all readers.
Every episode of Inside No.9 is currently available to stream on BBC iPlayer.