Take another road trip with Coogan and Brydon

Posted:  Thursday, October 19, 2017 - 12:30pm

Story Location:
185 Townsend Avenue
Boothbay Harbor  Maine  04538
United States

For yummy food, wicked good humor and impressions, and gorgeous scenery, I suggest you take a “Trip To Spain” with Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan -- your passport: a Harbor Theater ticket. 

This third jaunt begins in Santander and ends in Malaga. Coogan gives his old traveling pal Brydon a call to see if he’s up for spending a week in Spain with him. Coogan is going to dish on the cuisine there for the New York Times. Seconds after the invitation, Brydon’s baby son begins to cry – loudly –  prompting him to say yes – immediately. Brydon will be writing for the British Observer. They take a  ferry from Plymouth, England to Santander, Spain and the gorgeous scenery begins. Back on solid ground they load up a Range Rover and head on to Gertaria, Txoko, Etxebarri, Sos del Rey Católico, Prejano,  Sigüenza (they stay in a gorgeous medieval castle), Cuenca, Lamagro (south of Madrid where they don costumes from “Man of La Mancha”), Amalgro and others.

The coastal towns and the seafood cuisine look sabroso! (yummy) - particularly the spiny lobster, mussels (in carrot juice), scallops, green beans, whole shrimp, and fried squid rings! Oh! And I can’t forget the “life-affirming butter” (Rob’s description) made of buffalo milk on bread in Axpe. In fact, it looked so good I was wishing for a “Purple Rose of Cairo” moment (the Woody Allen film in which movie actors stepped out of the film and into the theater where Mia Farrow’s character was AND she into their fictional world). 

Impressions on this adventure include an awesome Mick Jagger by Rob - right down to the posturing and flamenco clapping; also “Jagger” doing Shakespeare; Sean Connery (a la James Bond), Brando, Robert De Niro, Woody Allen, John Hurt,  Paul McCartney, David Bowie, John Lennon, Roger Moore (during a very amusing discussion about the Moors) and, yes, the Michael Caine impressions return.

There is a lot of funny stuff here ... silly stuff, really ...  Brydon and Coogan are lunching with the two gals setting up the photo shoot for their visit to the La Mancha region of the country, with Steve as Don Quixote and Rob as Sancho Panza, no less. Coogan is being all intellectual-like during a conversation about the Moors, while Brydon has a running commentary  on everything Coogan says. Example: Coogan: “It was the Dark Ages ...” Rob: “It was pitch black.” In the interplay between the two, Brydon always trying to take Coogan’s ego down a few notches is always fun to watch. And the James Bond bit surrounding a sample of Iranian caviar is killer. 

Real life issues wind through the roads with Brydon and Coogan involving their relationships withe the women in their lives, kids, life as middle-aged men, and unexpected changes in agents. Coogan longs to have what his married traveling companion has – a home, wife and love. His relationship with his 20-year-old son is strained. Coogan has plans for his son to join him for a brief part of the trip, but those plans are dashed; his son’s girlfriend is pregnant. Coogan doesn’t receive this news with happiness; the infinite possibilities for his son are now minimized by his impending fatherhood. Coogan is already struggling with being in his 50s and still having so much he still wants to do. Despite all of the scrummy food, what he really wants is adventure.

Brydon tells Coogan that being in your 50’s  is really the “sweet spot,” but do either of them really believe it? 

Fantasies (this is all Steve) about winning Oscars (Coogan co-wrote and co-starred in the film “Philomena,” with Dame Judi Dench and received two Oscar nominations); fantasies about his married actress lover in New York City joining  him in Spain, being an explorer, and going to Africa. Keep these fantasies in mind because the ending is unlike that of any other in this franchise.

This just might be your  favorite trip (as well as mine) with these guys ... In fact, I found myself thinking how much I’d really like to do just that, or at the very least, break some bread ... served with that “life-affirming” buffalo butter, of course.

James Clarke’s  cinematography will plant thoughts of scoping out flights to Spain not long after you return home ... or at least fantasizing about a trip in the “Windmills of Your Mind ...”

“Trip To Spain” plays at the Harbor Theater plays at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 20, Saturday, Oct. 21 and Wednesday, Oct. 25; and plays at 2 and 7 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 22.