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Thursday 23 May 2019

Brighton Festival 2019 Review: Spymonkey's Cooped @ Worthing Pavilion Theatre

Reviewer Gary Cook took in the world-renowned comedy/clowning quartet Spymonkey's appearance at Brighton Festival, which was mysteriously transposed a few miles west, to a packed house at Worthing Pavilion Theatre.

Reviving (and considerably updating) this show (which premiered at the Brighton Komedia in 2001), the company mark their 20th anniversary with this production. It shows no signs of its age, and is still brilliant.

Cooped plays with the tropes of Hitchcock, "old dark house" tales, and British suspense films and is crammed with gags on theatre performance and delivery. 

As the curious story of the lovely Laura du Lay's arrival at the mysterious home of Forbes Murdston (welcomed by a most odd and creepy butler, Klaus), the narrative spins out of control into digressions and madness … It is quite simply a masterclass in physical comedy. 

Performed with fearless gusto and impeccable timing, the four members of Spymonkey - actors Aitor Basauri, Stephan Kreiss, Petra Massey and Toby Park - deliver laughs in spades, but this is much more than a slung together Fringe-type genre mockery.  

The comedy and physicality here has been honed by a quartet of experts at the top of their game. 

The show features a series of quite hilarious set pieces, some of which - like Petra Massey's take on mother Teresa's cheeks (you simply have to see it) - will remain with me for a long time. 

Like all great comedy on stage, it's hard to know where to start writing without describing the set-ups and narrating the scenes. 

Suffice to say, the show includes dancing pheasants, ping pong balls, a bishop doing magic tricks, an obscene folk ballad, gunshots, nude male ballet, hilarious cheesy dancing, and a shocking denouement worthy of Rebecca. Oh, and one of the funniest set-changes I've ever seen, courtesy of Klaus the butler.

With such a perfect display of timing and physical comedy, during which most of the audience were literally crying with laughter, it's not worth giving a critique of the piece as such - suffice to say it's bloody funny - if you can, I urge you to go and see it.

Spymonkey's Cooped at Worthing Pavilion Theatre until Sunday 26th May 2019. CLICK HERE for tickets.

by: Gary Cook


Credit Tom Woollard

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Credit Andy Sturmey

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