Tuesday, 12 July 2016

The man with 'that voice' : In praise of Matt Berry.

"Pleasure" I defy you to say it several times over without imagining it in the voice of this man; actor, writer, comedian, musician there's not much we can't imagine him doing. You may recognise him from cult comedy Garth Merenghi's Darkplace or for his role as Douglas Reynholm in The IT crowd, he's certainly proving to be one hell of a multi-talented character.

Matt Berry first caught our attention as Dr Sanchez/Todd Rivers in Darkplace, the cult comedy infamous for it's hilariously outlandish plots and more than often ill timed lip syncing. But around the same time as Darkplace graced the TV screen he was also working on "AD/BC" a rock opera that's often overlooked, a pastiche rock opera of certain 70's Christ driven rock operas, if you haven't seen it we recommend hunting a copy out for perhaps one of the most unusual musical experiences you'll ever have.

Of course the most iconic of his programmes which has gone down in history as a cult series, not just here but across the pond State-side, was Snuffbox, by far one of the best examples of British comedy to hit BBC3 in a long while, a repeat of which we're sadly not likely to see since the channels rapid downfall in quality... Co-created by Rich Fulcher the series features both Matt and Rich playing a version of themselves as hangmen, it's also responsible for one of the best profanities we've ever heard, "fuck, shit, horse piss, son of a two balled bitch, mother fucker" try saying that next time you stub a toe.. it was certainly ahead of it's time and an example of Matt's musical prowess on show having composed all of the music for the series.

It was from here that his second album "Opium" was released, a concept album which is certainly a unique experience. Allegedly inspired by listening to a recording of a Shakespeare play and hearing his brother's Led Zepplin records playing through the wall.

It's full of ballads, sultry prog rock and "black magic reggae", we suggest listening to it with plenty of whisky to hand for the ultimate listening experience.

His other albums have certainly followed suit, never predictable and always enjoyable, laced with prog influences, folklore and at times smooth jazz that as always has to be heard to be believed.

Most recently he worked on the much accoladed Toast of London for Channel 4, a series about an eccentric middle-aged actor with a chequered past who spends more time dealing with his problems off stage than performing on it. Certainly one of most entertaining programmes we've seen to grace the channel for a long while, providing a much needed breath of fresh air in the otherwise dusty channel 4 comedy schedule.

You may also be familiar with his most recent stint in Vic and Bob's BBC2 comedy series House of Fools as Beef, a character we simply couldn't imagine anyone else pulling off with so much panache, and he sports a rather fetching jumpsuit at one point..

Of course we've only explored a mere selection of his work, from his portrayal as Dixon Bainbridge in The Mighty Boosh to his cameo in Duncan Jones "Moon" and his BBC radio 4 series "I, Regress". There's simply an awful lot under his belt, whether he's fond of "Cream pie", making a sneak musical appearance in Dredd or cropping up in U.S cult comedies he's certainly proving to be a damned impressive multi-tasker..

To follow his latest musicial outings visit www.themattberry.co.uk, we certainly recommend trying to catch him on his upcoming April tour.

Article originally published on www.tweedandtea.co.uk in 2014.

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