(Seen at the afternoon performance on 26th July 2015) Some actors have now
left the cast.
It took the monkey over a year to get around to this - and it is pleased it did
- managing to catch much of the original cast before they disperse to other
That the play is the product of graduating drama students "doing it for
themselves" and ending up, through numerous versions and presentations, with a
full-length show backed by a major producer is an achievement. It also means
that their frame-of-reference for its creation matches directly the situation
they attempt to create. Students writing about a 'student dramatic society'
means that emotionally, the whole thing feels genuine even as every artificially
created comedic idea unfolds.
And that is the true strength of the show. Fans of 1970s sitcoms will
recognise every element of slapstick, every scrape and "Fawlty" moment - and
still, because the show is so truthful, laugh like drains. Better, every
performance is slightly different (a third-time visitor informed the monkey that
one particularly wonderful "pantomime" moment has never happened before), and if
the show has been running a year, it still feels as fresh as the first night it
Some wonderful performances from Adam Byron as Trevor the indolent Lighting
and Sound Man, Rob Falconer as a cheery Max Bennett, Henry Shields as Chris Bean
- effortlessly improvising from audience reaction; plus rubber-faced,
exquisitely expressive Nancy Wallinger as Annie Twilloil are the highlights of a
cast who work tirelessly to ensure nothing goes right.
Yes, the play itself could do with a little more structure towards the end,
and just occasionally a little time to allow the audience to rest before the
next joke (and also, perhaps, the odd deletion of repeating a fairly flat joke
twice). For the most part, though, it zips along, laughs piling up and honouring
the finest traditions of "Noises Off" and "No Sex Please, We're British" to name
It's not going to please everybody. Those seeing sophisticated word-play
should look elsewhere; but after a hard day at work it requires little effort to
love this manic group of young hopefuls, and should delight the Great British
crowd. The monkey for sure will be back to see it again some time, and only
wishes it had caught the show sooner.