Written and directed by: Heretical Productions
Reviewer: Chris Oldham
Something’s stirring at the Alma Tavern Theatre. Heretical Productions are previewing for Edinburgh.
Greeted by the super-talented Alex Howgego on keyboard, the audience sit before a simple black stage framed with black curtains, shortly before being thrown into the hectic world of Marmaduke Blennerhasset (Adam Booker), the world’s greatest thief who really just wants to get married to his chainsaw-loving girlfriend Jane, but can’t seem to stop stealing things; their current sofa included. When Jane is kidnapped by the evil Antonio Superyacht (Alistair Linsell – think Swiss Tony…with a massive yacht), Marmaduke is forced into attempting to steal the “original” copy of the bible from Vatican City. Aided by PTSD suffering Hatchett (Jack Munns) and the camper van loving Trevor (Tom Bridges), who thinks he’s a pirate, Marmaduke’s chances seem slim.
Aided by nothing but Howgego’s inspired live soundtrack, two chairs, and the four men’s ability to chop and change between multiple, absurd characters and situations, the production escorts us from quaint little French restaurants with fake French waiters, to the vaults of the Vatican, complete with Cardinal Trolls, zip lines, and runaway mine carts. The Heist is peppered with the kinds of envious amounts of creativity that make you wish you’d thought of it first. So effective is one particular scene in which Marmaduke and Hatchett are trapped in a flooding chamber, that it’s hard to believe it’s nothing more than silence and mime.
Structurally, there’s no need for the twenty minute interval; better to keep the momentum, especially when the audience are howling with delight; though where exactly the guys will trim the fat to fit it into the hour that Edinburgh demands is hard to call.
As flattering as the comparisons to comedic teams old and new that are sure to come may be, they’re not necessary – Heretical are fresh, intelligent, and utterly childish; and whether it’s this production or the next, these five are a must-see.
Runs until Sunday 19th July 2015.