"gags come thick and fast"
by Aline Waites for remotegoat on 17/12/18

Clement and La Frenais are two of the most prolific TV comedy writers, being responsible for shows like 'The Likely Lads' and 'Porridge'. Probably their greatest film writing success was 'The Commitments' a film about a rock pop group centered in Ireland.

The writers seem to have a particular fancy for three things, the Irish, the Criminal mind and Pop groups, so Neil McCormick's book 'I was Bono's Doppleganger' written by an unsuccessful rock musician is like a treasure trove for them and all three of these elements happily fit into 'Chasing Bono', '
McCormick's youthful ambition in the seventies is to be a rock star and he forms a group 'Frankie Corpse and the Undertakers' involving his brother and other pupils from his comprehensive school in Dublin So many Irish groups in the seventies were vying for fame at the time - the most successful were Bono and U2 who also came from the same school.

Clement and Frenais have adapted the book into a comedy with music and many quotable laugh lines. About Neil's mother 'If I wanted to be a bank robber she would have knitted me a balaclava'
Their love of villainy is represented by a fascinating gangster called Danny Machin who has Neil captured - with a bag over his head - and transported to a cottage miles away from anywhere. He has been brought here because of his gift for words and Danny wants him to write a book about him. ' I want people to see the other side of me, the family man, the philanthropist.' So Neil has to write the book with Danny and his cohort Plugger Mulcahy wielding guns with the constant expectation of a visit from the police.
So Neil also pens a book about Bono who was the famous rock star exactly what Neil had always wanted to be. Both equally talented but Bono was the successful one and Neil always messed up. Like two sides of the same personality. A Doppleganger!

Obviously the dialogue flows and the gags come thick and fast. It is often a little confusing as Max Dorey's set has to cover the TV style of writing - short scenes between the living room of Danny's cottage and the kitchen of Neil's family back in the seventies. It takes a while to figure out who everyone is. The lavish office of the music promoter, Leo Silver is set above the stage and has a practical staircase which is very effective.

Gordon Anderson directs the cast of Irish actors. Danny, the lovable villain, is played by Denis Conway and Ciaran Dowd is Plugger Mulcahy. Niall McNamee is the failed hero Neil and Niamh Bracken and Donal Finn play his siblings. Neil's love interest Gloria is Farzana Dua Elahe and there is a brief appearance as Bono by Shane O'Regan.

There are good laughs and some very pleasant singing from all the cast. It is a short entertainment - only eighty minutes and the story is a welcome visit to the past.

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