Ah, a Wodehouse parody; nothing draws intrepid DarkChatter Phil to a theatre seat more easily than the promise of delicious
language, absurd situations, and a spot of naughtiness in the name of the great man himself. Sadly, for many in the audience
it was more a case of ‘where are the PG Tips?’ rather than ‘oh I say, a fine nod to the PGW’.
A nice simple premise (what else) would be the perfect way to describe our Wooster-esque character Eddie Spangler whom,
along with his gentleman’s gentleman ‘Jeffrey’, set off for a meeting with an eccentric millionaire in the countryside. Lord
Wiggins, the millionaire in question, is torn between two things; the love of a good woman (played by the actor’s thumb), or the
love of his inheritance that would be deprived of him if he were to pursue such romantic interests. Torn, he seeks advice from
Spangler. However, little do they know that the brother of Wiggins, a Biggins Wiggins, is desperate to get his hands on the
fortune, and will do anything in his power to get it.
And thus the fairly unoriginal plot plays out the backdrop of a wonderful array of word puns, songs and rudery. The cast of four make up the character list of about ten in total, done to wonderful absurdity with the change of a coat or facial expression, and each does a wonderful job of doing so. The stage is largely bare, with a set of cardboard props used for marvellous comedic effect. Every moment in the play has been carefully designed for maximum comedic effect, whether it be a play on words, a double entendre, or sound effects to help you visualise an exotic stage scene. In particular, look out for clever use of sound to portray a train scene, a wonderfully well-choreographed comedy song and dance in the middle, and a rather inappropriate map of Africa.
The performers do the script justice, and Phil left pleased that he had not been the victim of his devotion to theatre associated with the name of Wodehouse. His one regret is that this gem of the Fringe, hidden away in the far corners of the city, will not be seen by more – and, if Monday was anything to go by, also by more people who hadn’t come in the hope of a free cup of tea and a scone.
Cream Tea and Incest is at Gilded Balloon Rose Theatre until August 25th (not 15th)
Gilded Balloon Rose Theatre (Venue 76) 12.45