Advertising himself as Britain’s Number One Dwarf, Rusty Goffe has had a long and distinguished career in this business we call show. There’s scarcely a movie you thank think of which has needed an actor of his stature (4’2”) in which he has not appeared: five of the Harry Potter films, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Willow, Funnybones, Flash Gordon and Fred Clause to name just a few. He played no less than three roles in the first ‘proper’ Star Wars movie (the one that’s now stupidly been relabelled IV: A New Hope). He’s even in Ken Russell’s short film A Kitten for Hitler – now that’s something to be proud of.
His list of television credits just goes on and on: the League of Gentlemen (he was part of Papa Lazarou’s circus), Are You being Served?, The Goodies, the Two Ronnies, the Kenny Everett TV Show, Crackerjack, Dave Allan….Rusty is Britain’s ‘go-to’ dwarf.
And before you get all PC on me, in an interview with the BBC the multi-talented Mr Goffe had this to say: “I'm happy to refer to myself as a dwarf. That’s what I am – dwarfism is a form of achondroplasia. I’ve had 'vertically challenged’, but the best was 'superior depth' – I thought that was hysterical!”
Born in October 1948 in Kent, Rusty and his wife Sarah (who stands 5’7” tall) now live in Bedfordshire and have two sons, Ben and Jack (both also dwarves and both also busy actors). He left school at 15 and went straight into showbiz: for 13 years the couple ran the Sarah Goffe Theatre School; he has been in constant demand for pantomime, has appeared in two Royal Variety Shows (an annual stage shindig performed in front of a member of the royal family) and for many years he toured the music halls and variety theatres with his one man band act. In fact his first job was playing the piano and the trumpet in a band show in Portsmouth six nights a week.
And it’s this last talent which interest us. For Rusty released a single. Not just a single, but a rather wonderful three track EP – Cabaret Time on Crotchet Records - which I present for you today in all of its glory, thanks to the kindness of Mick Dillingham, who originally included a track on his must-have CD Music for Mentalists. Earlier in his career Rusty also released an album, For Your Entertainment on Le Marc records, on which he played 10 instruments; the sleeve notes to this EP claim that he can play 32 instruments, however his website proudly boasts of his ability to play no less than 44.
Side one of the EP includes two tracks that had previously appeared on his album: Ten Feet Tall (a self-penned number rather than a cover of the XTC classic) and an instrumental version of The Bells of St Marys. But it’s side two that’s the pip; Rusty’s rendition of the perennial favourite The Music Man, in which he showcases his ability to play (with varying degrees of success) the piano, the trumpet, the organ, the saxophone, guitar, the bagpipes and the drums.
It’s a wonderful, kitsch record and, as the sleeve claims: ‘Cabaret Time with Rusty Goffe is a must for your record collection’. I couldn’t have put it better myself. Enjoy!