Phoenix Nights ‘tacky mystic’ Clinton Baptiste connects with Derbyshire audience
Fans of the celebrated paranormalist sensation Clinton Baptiste can find out what he’s been up to since departing from the cult TV series Phoenix Nights in a live show touring to Chesterfield.
The presentation Clinton Baptiste goes Stratospheric, at the Pomegranate Theatre on September 30, 2021, will reveal how a series of shows in Vegas have lifted his celebrity status up a notch.
Clinton Baptiste is an alter ego of comedian and actor Alex Lowe who also created the wonderful old codger Barry from Watford. Alex has a rich acting career, ranging from appearing in the West End in the original production of Another Country to his work with Kenneth Branagh on Peter’s Friends and Much Ado about Nothing.
Peter’s Friends gave Aex his first showiz break but it was comedian Peter Kaye who gave Alex the opportunity to work on TV’s phenomenally successful Phoenix Nights when he cast him as an inept psychic in episode three of the series.
Baptiste was only in a few scenes, which included him receiving a bloody nose after some particularly inappropriate mind-reading. “He’s a hapless, careless, clumsy terrible medium who upsets his audience with his rather blunt assertions as to where their lives are going,” says Lowe. But the character clearly struck a chord because he is now on his first national tour. Who could have predicted that?
In his blonde wig and sparkly shirt Baptiste is the embodiment of somebody dreaming of success that will never come, explains Lowe. ”I like him to look pristine but he is a tacky end-of-the-pier mystic. It’s bittersweet plucky loser comedy."
Some people take the paranormal world seriously so Lowe makes it clear that Baptiste is always the butt of the gag. “It’s a joke about a charlatan. If he wasn’t doing this he would be a second-hand car salesman.”
As an act that interacts with the audience, however, things can be unpredictable. At a gig in a school in Winchester someone took something Baptiste said the wrong way and started heckling him. When Lowe realised that the man was angry he decided to leave the stage only to see the man follow him.
“I started running, my blonde wig trailing behind me! I had to hide behind a filing cabinet while my agent and the compere rugby tackled him. But he waited outside for me so in the end they gave me box of Quality Street and I had to pretend I was a parent leaving with a prize I’d won.”
Lowe insists that apart from a pointy nose there are not many similarities between his fictional alter ego and himself. “Baptiste is from the north-west of England, probably close to where the Phoenix Club was, I’m from the north-west of London, Pinner. Maybe Clinton and I both dream of escaping from a humdrum life, but I don’t think there is more of a similarity than that.”
TIckets cost £24.50 to see Clinton Baptiste goes Stratospheric. Go to www.chesterfieldtheatres.co.uk