The latest theatrical production by Victorian funsters Don’t Go Into the Cellar is a chat show hosted by Oscar Wilde. The Graham Norton of his day talks to such celebrities as Lily Langtry, the Prince of Wales and… William McGonagall!
Speaking to the Manchester Evening News, Johnathan Goodwin, the show’s writer and star, says:
McGonagall has stayed in print ever since he was first published. He took himself very seriously, but his work was comical. He was addicted to rhyme, and his lines went to extraordinary lengths just so he could fit in the rhyme. He was, of course, oblivious to the joke.
He was a handloom weaver in the Highlands until he was 55, when he decided to be a poet. His wife would have been horrified; they had seven children!
These characters are chosen for their comedy potential – the eccentrics are who I like. William McGonagall: you couldn’t make him up. They are all Victorian celebs – even back in the 1890s there were people famous for being famous