‘Packed with lively songs’: BANANAMAN – Southwark Playhouse ★★★★

In London theatre, Musicals, Opinion, Reviews, Ticket recommendations by Caroline Hanks-FarmerLeave a Comment

Southwark Playhouse – until 20 January 2018
Guest reviewer: Ros Freeborn

All generations must have their superheroes; for children in the 1980s, tea-time television presented awe-struck audiences with the adventures of Bananaman, a particularly dim-witted super-hero who started life on the back pages of the DC Thomson comic, Nutty.

Get all social media for Bananaman & its cast on www.stagefaves.com

In this lively interpretation of the Bananaman story we meet young Eric Wimp, played with conviction by Mark Newnham, a bullied, only child, lacking in confidence who longs to get with his sweetheart Fiona but can’t find the right words. One day, a passing comet flies past Acacia Road (of course) ‘where nothing ever happens and there’s never any news’ and our mortal hero is imbued with superpowers, triggered by eating a banana (of course).

Mark Perry, director of the show, and his creative team have produced a very entertaining, frenetic and totally bonkers everyday story of a super-hero. We all cheered and gasped when Eric transformed into a massive, gym-toned hero dressed in skin-tight electric blue suit complete with curly banana boots, gloves and banana peel cloak, but realised, quite quickly that he was actually a bit dim. Matthew McKenna, as the transformed Bananaman, was very much the comic hero as he bounced around with foppish vigour and the stumbling good manners of a Hugh Grant character.

Bananaman the Musical is packed with lively songs, a mix of yearning solos and hectic company numbers with much kicking and flicking choreography all ably conducted by musical director Mal Hall and his small band.

In terms of story and characterisation it’s hard to describe exactly what happens and who does what. We have potential love interest between Eric and his school friend Fiona (a feisty Emma Ralston), a roly-poly policeman chasing after the miscreants (TJ Lloyd) and two baddies – Doctor Gloom and General Blight. These dastardly villains are sort of in cahoots to obtain the ‘power’ of the comet and of Bananaman…. but it all got a bit confused. However, I was particularly impressed by Marc Pickering who, as evil Doctor Gloom, brought a sinister stillness to his role combined with weird bottle top glasses, a nice line in small step creeping and some belting songs.

Like Pantomime, this show should appeal to children of all ages – with some of the nuances rightly flying over young heads but causing mayhem and mirth with an older audience sensible to double-entendres and a lot of suggestive strutting. A good fun show for New Year entertainment.

LISTINGS INFO

BANANAMAN THE MUSICAL

Where

Southwark Playhouse

THE LARGE

77-85 Newington Causeway

London SE1 6BD

When

Friday December 15 2017 to

Saturday 20 January 2018

Times

Monday – Saturday at 7.30pm

Tuesday, Saturday and Sunday at 3.00pm

Prices:

Previews £14, Full £25, Concs £20

www.southwarkplayhouse.co.uk

Let’s Get Social 

Twitter:

@BananamanShow

@swkplay

Facebook:

bananamanmusical

Website:

www.bananamanlive.com

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The post Team Review: Bananaman – The Musical appeared first on Carns Theatre Passion.

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Caroline Hanks-Farmer
Having been a performer for many years, Caroline knows first hand how much the support of a good audience is valued, appreciated and needed. She is passionate about all performing art, but has a particular interest in new writing and Off-West End productions. Having reviewed for other publications, she set up her website, Carn’s Theatre Passion, to provide more exposure for these areas, as well as news, views, interviews and information on all stage-related matters.
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Caroline Hanks-Farmer on FacebookCaroline Hanks-Farmer on InstagramCaroline Hanks-Farmer on LinkedinCaroline Hanks-Farmer on PinterestCaroline Hanks-Farmer on RssCaroline Hanks-Farmer on TwitterCaroline Hanks-Farmer on Youtube
Caroline Hanks-Farmer
Having been a performer for many years, Caroline knows first hand how much the support of a good audience is valued, appreciated and needed. She is passionate about all performing art, but has a particular interest in new writing and Off-West End productions. Having reviewed for other publications, she set up her website, Carn’s Theatre Passion, to provide more exposure for these areas, as well as news, views, interviews and information on all stage-related matters.

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