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Spalding's Act II end a fragmented year with an hilarious Revue



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Nothing and no-one was out of bounds as Spalding's Act II Theatre Company took to the stage for the first evening of their annual revue on Wednesday.

Politicians, Royals, global corporations, the famous and the infamous all came in for hilarious scrutiny, with those closer to home also under the microscope.

And with 2021 absolutely begging for such satirical treatment, four adult members of the youth theatre had a blast as they threw off any age-restricted shackles to chew up and spit out the best and worst of a memorable year.

Karl Gernert as Boris Johnson
Karl Gernert as Boris Johnson

Olivia Black joined regulars Karl Gernert, Penelope Harrall and Jo Wheatley for the first of six intimate performances at the Company's Clay Lake studios.

The show set a perfect tone from the start, when a medley of Abba songs marked the Swedish quartet's reunion and linked it with COP 26 and Greta Thunberg. The clever sketch showed Prime Minister Boris Johnson blaming the oil companies, them passing it on to supermarkets, who in turn threw it to the consumer, before the eventual culprits became climate change protestors.

Karl and co work with (very talented) kids all year round so they like to let loose with the language at these yearly delights and I laughed out loud at the lesser-known Abba hit 'Does Your Mother Know You're A T**t' which was sang to an Insulate Britain member (Harrall) laying on the M25.

Home secretary Priti Patel's attempts to get TV's Dragon's Den stars to pitch in with her wave machine to send immigrants back from whence they came was also top drawer, as was the re-imagining of former health secretary Matt Hancock's affair with his aide Gina Coladangelo.

There was no anti-Tory agenda, however, and Labour leader Keir Starmer (Gernert) was ridiculed in a great scene where his sitting on the fence stance was accompanied by the Culture Club classic Karma (Starmer, geddit?) Chameleon.

There were some brilliant recurring scenes too. Remember when the infamous Handforth Parish Council meeting hit the headlines as the infamous Jackie Weaver was told she had "no authority here". Black popped up regularly as the poor, lambasted woman.

Holbeach Parish Council also hit the news this autumn when they failed to put on a proper Remembrance Parade on the 100th anniversary of the British Legion. Act II performed sketches wondering how the council would have coped with other events, such as D-Day, Shakespear's premier of Romeo and Juliet, and even the Crucifixion.

Complete with bonifide Holbeach accent, Wheatley questioned whether they had planning permission for the structure on which Jesus Christ was crucified. After a few words, Christ became main stage and was questioned as to whether he had the correct certification for his fish and loaves. Brilliant.

Legendary diarist Samuel Pepys' description of the Great Fire of (Amercan Burger) and our MP Sir John Hayes' second (third and fourth) jobs were also local topics for ridicule. But there was no genuine anger, political persuasion or diatribe here. It was just a lovely, harmless way to spread a bit of light on another year with too much darkness. Act II, thank you for that.



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