Omnibus Theatre, London – until 15 March 2020
Guest reviewer: Emma Burnell
There will be two types of people in the audience for this show – those desperate to be picked to be on stage and those desperate not to be. Now anyone who knows me (or saw my ground breaking Lady Bracknell at summer drama school) will know I’m the latter. Sadly on this occasion is wasn’t to be – I clearly wanted it too much. Should knock a star off the review for that but I just can’t do it! Because this was enormous fun.
Anyone who has seen the highly successful Play That Goes Wrong will understand how much mileage there is in the farce of a failing am dram. This takes that concept – with all its physical comedy fully realised – and brings the audience in on the joke – and the performance.
The cast is really very good at being really rather bad. From the drunk Gwendoline (Trynity Silk) to the wooden Algernon (Guido Garcia Lueches) and the incredibly put upon actor who starts as the butler and ends as Miss Prism (Rhys Tees) they ham it up with enough abandon to show us that they are doing so, and enjoy themselves enough to ensure that we do too.
It is also confidently directed by Simon Paris – who is clearly not afraid to send himself up, as his onstage alter ego is also called Simon (Alex Phelps). The staging runs from classic farce through physical comedy and never loses its pace or edge.
The audience starts to be brought into the action right from the start with an Ernest being plucked – fairly unceremoniously – from the audience and asked to deliver right from the beginning. As the action goes on we get a Cecily and a Gwendoline and by the end, the whole audience is on stage singing at the wedding.
This is a very silly show. Gloriously so. In a world where – if the virus won’t kill us, Donald Trump will – we really, really need good, well delivered, confident silliness. This show won’t change your life but my god it will make you laugh.
Just next time guys – put me on!