‘Tommy Cooper: I Didn’t Let You Down, Did I?’ —Niek Versteeg Doesn’t Disappoint Either

By Ernest Kearney — There are two parts to Niek Versteeg’s solid success at playing the titular role in Tommy Cooper: I Didn’t Let You Down, Did I?
The first, principally with American audiences, is his anonymity.

The red fez adorned, cigar chomping Tommy Cooper was, and still is, arguably Britain’s most beloved comic, but he is little known in this country.

Cooper once headlined at the Las Vegas Flamingo Hotel in 1954 for two weeks and appeared five times between 1963 and 1967 on the Ed Sullivan Show.

Returning to Great Britain, Cooper told one interviewer, “The minute I got off the plane in New York, 15,000 people started crowding around me. If you don’t believe me, ask Marlon Brando. He was standing right next to me.

Cooper was a lumbering 6 foot 4 inches tall, with what one BBC producer described as an “extremely unfortunate appearance.”

That producer was being kind. Heavy drinking and 40 cigars a day did not improve the basic facts of Cooper’s poor gene pool, making him look far older than his actual years.

Early on, when looking for an agent to represent his comedy act, Cooper was told he’d never make it in nightclubs and that he should consider a career in Hammer horror films. Cooper was a hulking monster who told jokes.

Versteeg is far from a monster.

However the other part of his success with this show is due to Versteeg’s pure talent. From the moment he steps on stage he becomes the looming, weathered, 6ft 4in chronically alcoholic Cooper whose life choices are about to close his tragic life in an ironically tragic fashion.

Versteeg, who also wrote the play, manages to convey Cooper’s slow unraveling succinctly and with great sympathy while capturing both Cooper’s physicality and performance persona to perfection.

Kudos to Director Sean Cowhig and Producer Nicole Cabbiness.

For all involved


Platinum Medal - via The TVolution

Tommy Cooper: I Didn’t Let You Down, Did I?
Is Onstage During Hollywood Fringe Festival 2022


The Actors Company – Let Live Theater.
916 N Formosa Ave,
Los Angeles, CA 90046

Saturday 6/4, 6pm (Preview)
Saturday 6/11, 10pm
Sunday 6/12, 2.30pm
Friday 6/17, 8.30pm
Saturday 6/25, 9.30pm
Running Time: 40 minutes
TICKET PRICE: $10 (Comps available upon request)
Ticket Link: hff22.co/7462

For Additional information and Tickets Go To:


Written by

An award-winning L.A. playwright and rabble-rouser of note who has hoisted glasses with Orson Welles, been arrested on three continents and once beat up Charlie Manson. His first play, "Among the Vipers" was a semi-finalist in the Julie Harris Playwriting Competition and was featured in the Carnegie-Mellon Showcase of New Plays. It was produced at the NPT Theater in Ashland, Oregon and Los Angeles’ celebrated Odyssey Ensemble Theatre. His following play, “The Little Boy Who Loved Monsters” was produced at The Hollywood Actors Theater, where he earned praise from the Los Angeles Times for his “…inordinately creative writing.” The play went on to numerous other productions including Berlin’s The Black Theatre under the direction of Rainer Fassbinder who wrote in his program notes of Kearney, “He is a skilled playwright, but more importantly he is a dangerous one.” Ernest Kearney has worked as literary manager or as dramaturge for among others The Hudson Theater Guild, Nova Diem and the Odyssey Ensemble Theatre, where he still serves on the play selection committee. He has been the recipient of two Dramalogue Awards and a finalist or semi-finalist, three times, in the Julie Harris Playwriting Competition. His work has been performed by Michael Dunn, Sandra Tsing Loh, Jack Colvin and Billy Bob Thornton, and to date, either as playwright or director, he has upwards of a hundred and thirty productions under his belt, including a few at the Bob Baker Marionette Theater as puppeteer. Kearney remains focused on his writing, as well as living happily ever after with his lovely wife Marlene. His stage reviews and social essays can be found at TheTVolution.com and workingauthor.com. Follow him on Facebook.

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