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A&E presents
Rowan Atkinson Live (1991)

School headmaster: Mr. Perkins, I find this morbid fascination of yours with your son's death quite disturbing. What I'm talking about is his attidude. And quite frankly, I can see where he gets it from.
Mr. Perkins: It wasn't me that beat him to death!
School headmaster: That was perfectly obvious to me from the first day he arrived here! I wondered then, as I wonder now, if he might not have turned out to be a different boy indeed, if you had administered a few fatal beatings early on.

- Rowan Atkinson, Angus Deayton

Review By: Jeff Wilson   
Published: September 10, 2007

Stars: Rowan Atkinson
Other Stars: Angus Deayton
Director: Thomas Schlamme

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for strong language, adult themes
Run Time: 00h:55m:40s
Release Date: August 14, 2007
UPC: 733961774566
Genre: comedy

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer

DVD Review

Rowan Atkinson has a been a fixture on the British comedy scene for well over 25 years, but his stage appearances are less well-known to American audiences who may know him best as Mr. Bean or Blackadder. This DVD brings a 1991 U.S. stage appearance to audiences, having previously been seen on Comedy Central some years ago, where it was in heavy rotation. This version includes scenes cut from the British version of the show as well and presents the show without language being bleeped out. It's a relatively no frills affair, but that's not really an issue.

Atkinson presents his show (along with straight man Angus Deayton) as a series of sketches mixed between solo and duo work. The sketches alternate between physical humor (making good use of Atkinson's rubbery face) and more dialogue-oriented bits, which to me were funnier. While nothing here even approaches the heights of the great Black Adder series, there is some fun to be had. Among the better sketches are Atkinson as a schoolmaster who wants to discuss a dead student's poor performance with his father, a series of wedding disasters (featuring Atkinson as three different characters in quick procession) and a bitter actor accepting an award for a co-star. All three blend amusing dialogue with clever performances from Atkinson. Otherwise, much of the material only elicits an occasional chuckle. Too often, it is simply too tame to be especially funny. I suppose my tastes run more toward the coarser sketches.

While Atkinson is a clever physical performer, I just didn't laugh at the physical comedy pieces; one sketch with Atkinson as a poor Shakespearean actor demonstrating ridiculous technique simply wears out its welcome and isn't very funny to start with. Another, with Atkinson the victim of an invisible man on a train, similarly fails to find much humor in a concept that seems to have potential. I've never been a huge Mr. Bean fan, so if you enjoy Bean, you're likely to find more in that vein here. Otherwise, I'd recommend a rental.

Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: B-


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: Made for TV in the early 1990s, this looks much as you'd expect, with solid color and sharpness. There are no subtitles.

Image Transfer Grade: B


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno

Audio Transfer Review: The basic 2.0 sound conveys the dialogue and sound effects well.

Audio Transfer Grade: B


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 12 cues and remote access
Cast and Crew Biographies
Cast and Crew Filmographies
3 Deleted Scenes
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: Three extra sketches left out of the U.S. broadcast version are included here; they are: "Elementary Dating" (07m:09s), "Guys after the Game" (05m:14s), and "Tom, Dick and Harry" (04m:36s). All three are no better or worse than what is in the main program. A brief bio and filmography of Atkinson are included as well.

Extras Grade: B


Final Comments

A hit and miss collection of sketches from Rowan Atkinson, blending physical humor and biting dialogues. The DVD collects three more bonus sketches for fans, making thiis an easy purchase for them; others are urged to rent first.


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