"Not marvellous but certainly entertaining"
by Maddy Ryle for remotegoat on 18/05/10

I went expecting stand-up but 'Adopt a Biafran child' is actually a fully scripted comedy play that has a plot, even if that plot is essentially secondary to the opportunity to display a) some pretty good and generally repulsive character comedy b) some very good looking faces and c) some cheeky cultural references (I have to admit I probably didn't get loads of these because I basically don't watch TV, but other people in the audience clearly did).

This is the latest in a series of plays from The Marvellous Dorians under the Bare Dollar rubric which, from what I can tell, continue the lives and lusts of a consistent set of characters, namely Toby (white, posh, nice), Peggy (black, smart, hip. Well, ish) and Aurora (white, very posh, feisty; Toby's long-term on-off love interest).

A bit of a shaky start, with some rather predictable ranting about race etc, but I did warm to this show, and I did laugh quite a lot. The rap section, after dear Toby and Peggy celebrate the false dawn of newfound wealth (Peggy did a Nigerian email scam; Toby's the only guy sucker enough to fall for it), was suitably bad. The bits with Uncle Basil poked at the cringe worthy nerves and delivered a lot of giggles, even if his character borrows just a bit too much from Richard Griffiths in Withnail & I.

Have to say though, that the hapless and more 'normal' characters of Peggy and Toby ended up fading a bit in comparison with the figures of good end evil represented by Bono on the one hand and coke fiend millionaire and megalomaniac Charlie Partridge (guess which Nineties comedy behemoth he's based on…) on the other. Played by Robin Clyfan and Tom Rosenthal respectively, these two did kind of steal the show; Rosenthal in particular has a pretty total mastery over the action and the audience (and he is the best looking of the lot if you can get over the despicable nature of Partridge's character).

There's not enough material in here that feels original, but the way it's been put together and the quality of the performers makes the Marvellous Dorians well worth a look-see.

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