"Think Monty Python & Blackadder"
by Aline Waites for remotegoat on 22/12/11

Think Monty Python and mix in a bit of Blackadder - a few memories of the Fast Show - and in fact every satirical comedy programme ever seen. A story of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, and as the opening number says it all happened 'long long long - ago'. It is a Christmas treat, though hardly a pantomime - it is a series of revue sketches linked together with a simple plot and full of amusing anachronisms. There are a couple of story tellers, Bosstock, the man in charge played by Patrick Rowe and Rumpkin (Sam George) his idiotic sidekick, who are responsible for keeping us up to scratch with the plot and together make a great double act. The setting is the dark ages - the year 536 although there are references to William the Conqueror and the Battle of Hastings!!

This is an afternoon of pure idiocy with some rather nice choral singing in between. It is on at a time for children to come and see it, but to my mind it is an adult show. The humour is referential, satirical, covers politics, and show business. In fact, as the saying goes, no turn is left unstoned.

Matthew Gould is the director and I get the feeling that much of the time the actors have been given their heads and allowed to fool about as much as they like - an attitude of which I thoroughly approve in this kind of production.

Oliver Mawdsley gives a new non heroic slant to King Arthur and also plays various other characters including a crazy Frenchman which leads to a wonderful piece of Gallic loathing sung by Jonny Muir who is a perfect handsome hero and his pretty sweetheart, Sarah Barker; Jay Perry is in fine voice and has enormous charisma as the Black Knight. There are outstanding comedy performances from Andrew Goddard who doubles a camp Sir Percival with the Lady of the Lake, and from the author himself who delivers a Gorblimey Sir Galahad as well as Merlot the magician and Jonathan Ashby-Rock gives a new and pretty accurate interpretation of Blackadder as the villain Sir Backstabber.

This is a good script that will progress as the time goes on. The partnership of Gould and Horspool is obviously a creative one. It is a load of fun and should go places.

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