"tears streaming down my face"
by Aline Waites for remotegoat on 03/12/18

For Jermyn Street Theatre's Christmas treat there is a delightful but totally bonkers version of the ghastly story of the infamous Body Snatchers.

It must be the campest and most theatrical show on the Christmas circuit even though the story is one of quite horrific proportions. There is something so endearing about putting criminals at the head of the show and making them human and almost loveable.

But in this case with three people playing too many characters for me to remember – and swapping parts whenever convenient without a word of excuse. No apologies are given for Abigail Pickard Prices's hectic production and none are needed. It is a lovely hilarious evening.

Setting up the early nineteenth century story is done very sweetly with Katy Daghorn as Dr Monro telling us the problem facing the new medical business of dissecting cadavers for learning more about bodies. The problem being that were just not enough bodies and the medical staff were reduced to asking for people to donate their dead relatives They were in short supply as many people wanted their loved ones to have a decent burial.

Cut to the boarding house of Mrs Hare and her drunken Irishman of a husband played by Alex Parry Mrs Hare is also played by Katy Daghorn with a different accent. Enter another Irishman, the young Mr Burke played by Hayden Wood who needs a place to live but has no money. As luck would have it, one of the visitors to the bar suddenly dies of influenza. (off stage – off stage dying effects created by the cast.) and they find a way to increase their income.

It is almost impossible to work out how they managed to get through this play with just the three actors, but it was simply this. If a character was needed, any one of the three who were not involved in a particular scene, would take on the role regardless of gender and physical characteristics. This meant that the cast of three had to study the characters and accents of all the roles including the many who get bumped off during the convenient plague of influenza.

A nightmare! But it happened and it was done. With a terrific adaptable set by Toots Butcher.

I loved every black comedy minute of it, laughing with tears streaming down my face. The audience were also very appreciative on press night. Will be interesting to see what the critics made of it..

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