Standing ovation for comic Lenny Henry

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A cheering, sell-out audience rose to their feet on Sunday night to applaud one of the nation’s favourite comedy stars, Lenny Henry.

Lenny’s Pop Life tour has seen him achieve a personal first, playing piano in front of a live audience.

But it was the old day job – his wacky take on life and comedy genius – and some real rocking out that won tumultuous applause at Spalding’s South Holland Centre.

“Are you in show business?,” Lenny asked a woman reclining in the front row.

“No,” she said.

“Then get your feet off my stage,” he told her.

And he was right. He owned that stage from first to last.

Pop Life had a thread of music seamlessly linking the comedy narrative that swept through family life, religion, music legends, awkward years as a teenager, dad dancing, making up lyrics to themes from TV soaps and more.

Lenny began his journey into the nation’s hearts as a stand-up comedian and impressionist.

On Sunday there was a fleeting trip through some well-worn impressions as a homage to his roots, but the mature Lenny shone through in every moment, particularly in relaxed banter with the audience, an hilarious Chinese Elvis and then a brilliant black Elvis.

And, yes, Lenny really can sing (almost) like the King of rock ‘n’ roll.

Lenny’s newly acquired grade 4 piano exam gave him the confidence to tinkle the ivories, most notably for the Fats Domino classic, Blueberry Hill, which brought the curtain down.

No pianist could hold a candle to the legendary Fats but Lenny’s vocal touched a chord in the audience and made for an electric finale when everybody was invited to join in.