Vault Festival, London – until 23 February 2020
With its combination of welly-throwing, pigeon murder, tongue magic and any number of decent 80s tunes, The Misadventures of David and Sam makes for quite the fun piece of family theatre at the VAULT Festival. David and Sam are young farmers from 1914 who want to tell us a story with the help of their gran and their cow Daisy. They just need to stop squabbling, and keep Granny awake, and make sure Daisy doesn’t disappear.
Liam Cullen and George Wing are hugely appealing as this effervescent, energetic pair, ably accompanied by Michelle Pittoni’s granny (and her under-utilised uke). Throwing in the daftest magic you ever did see, moments of gentle audience participation and a hefty dose of slapstick, their charm has us gleefully skipping up, down and around the surreal twists and turns of their tale, the details of which ultimately matter less than the joy of the storytelling itself.
Though a family show, the writing does flirt with something deeper at times. The WWI references, however fleeting, can’t help but be charged with poignancy and some of the humour does end up cutting near the bone (that cancer joke…). In many ways though, this just adds to the multilayered feel, working to engaging older audience members as well as making them laugh. The range of pop culture references works to this effect too – Schitt’s Creek and Taken alongside Jack and the Beanstalk and Dick & Dom.
Most significantly, The Misadventures… never forgets what it is – good-natured, light-hearted fun. I frequently laughed out loud (I’m a big kid at heart, that counts for a family show right?) and you’ll find it hard not to be won over too, by the inventiveness of the humour and the responsiveness to its audience.