Gordon Giltrap
Old Rep, Birmingham

From The Beat, May 1998

First, a word or two of praise for support act Malcolm Stent. Unlike his cheesy Evening Mail adverts and his nostalgia- overdose shows with Carl Chinn, he showed his true mettle as a stand- up, working the audience like an old pro. Although some of his material was of dubious "political correctness", it was astonishing to see his mastery of the art of wining over a crowd, albeit a small one.

Giltrap, his vigour belying his recent 50th birthday, came to the Old Rep's intimate stage with a strange new guitar - its body in the shape of a cartoon hedgehog. He explained that this instrument was the "Mascot" for  the charity in whose aid he was performing. It's appearance masked it's true beauty, its sound, which was explained by the fact that its creator was the legendary Rob (?) Armstrong (who was sat beside me).

After a couple of numbers on that, Giltrap introduced his new keyboard player, 19- year- old [name]  and reverted to more usual Armstrong creations, whose output he skilfully moulded with delays and effects.

The reason Giltrap is known as a gentleman was made clear when, after it was pointed out that [name] was inaudible during one song, he insisted on repeating it, so as not to deprive his young discovery of his moment of glory.

Mixed with old favourites were tracks from Giltrap's latest album, Troubadour, named after his role in Cliff Richard's egotistical folly, Heathcliffe. Giltrap related a few humorous Richard anecdotes, but I found his admission that he had mimed during part of the show sad rather than funny.

Andy Mabbett
Copyright 1998

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