Act II’s Annual Revue – Ayscoughfee Hall, Spalding – Saturday, December 10
Anyone who has read our reviews of Act II will know we at the Spalding Guardian are great fans of the work carried out by the Clay Lake theatre company.
But it’s the kids we are used to seeing on stage, not the adults, so this show was a chance to see the brains behind the operation in action, and with no age constraints as to the content!
And what a wonderful evening it was. From Brexit to Brad Pitt and from John Hayes to Paddington, no one was free from scrutiny, but as long as you kept an open mind and a sense of humour you were in for a treat.
Written by Charlotte and Karl Gernert, this show comprised many quick sketches, usually with songs and music, poking fun at the main events of 2016 and those involved in them.
The skits were wonderfully performed by four extremely endearing actors – Kev Arnold, Olivia Black, Dominique Spinks and Karl himself – directed by Charlotte, with lighting and sound by Joe Dickinson.
Mostly set to music (Karl’s keyboard), some of these songs were hilarious but also thought provoking, such as the version of Shaggy’s ‘It Wasn’t Me’, directed at the American justice system after the Stanford University sexual assault case.
‘In the Jungle (the Calais jungle, the migrants creep tonight)’ was also poignant and funny, and the Grim Reaper singing ‘(This is what it sounds like) When Folk Die’ was brilliant, although it did push the boundaries of taste somewhat!
My favourite sketch was The T**t in the Hat, a wonderful Dr Zeuss parody about Donald Trump and his rise to the White House.
Another hilarious sketch saw Karl imitate Paddy McGuiness in a Brexit version of TV show Take Me Out (of the EU). “Let the Article see the 50…”
A sketch imagining John Hayes’ reaction to (call me Gary) Porter becoming a Lord was also funny, as was the one about reactions to changes to lesson times and form groups at the new Spalding Academy.
Paddington Bear’s arrest and deportation by customs officials was both hilarious and thought provoking and the Celebrity Wife Swap between Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt with Norman Cooke and Zoe Ball was fantastic.
I always thought Act II were pushing the boundaries with what they ask of their young performers… I now realise there’s some fantastically evil comic minds behind the whole operation!
But they did remind us at the end that life’s not that bad in good old Britain, and all to the tune of one of my favourite Madness songs.
This was the kind of show you talk to friends about for days afterwards, re-telling the jokes and sketches and spreading the laughter even further. Try to catch it next year if you can.