The Penny Dreadfuls (4 stars)

This article is from 2009.

The Penny Dreadfuls

A quality spoof from hammy trio

This positively undreadful show spoofs Bond and Hitchcock movies, Dirty Harry and The Prisoner in a delightfully strange hour of stupidness. Set in the theme park of Beef Island, Paul (an 8 3/4-year-old small boy, played by the giraffe-like Humphrey Ker) must help his hardnose Northern cop friend (David Reed) crack crime, and track down the mysterious Dr Lovable. Paul’s precocious worldly-wisdom brings plenty laughs, as he announces he is ‘essentially unshockable’ in a little deadpan squeal.

Silly voices are a strong point here, with Thom Tuck playing the terribly proper and massively over-acted part of a gentleman amnesiac, who is ‘as lost as a lamb in a forest full of bastards’. Welsh butchers pop in for cameos, and to exclaim things like, ‘Tom Jones on a dragon!’ or ‘Sweet Charlotte Church!’, and the unfortunately named Kriss Akabusi (no, not the real one, just a coincidence) also stops by after winning a golden ticket to the island. Quality performances all round, and a script imagined up by a twisted, comedy genius make this a ruddy, bloody funny show.

Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 31 Aug (not 22), 8.30pm, £10–£11.50 (£8.50–£10).

Penny Dreadfuls Present ... The Never Man

  • 4 stars

The acclaimed comedy troupe return with a new thriller set on a mysterious theme park island. 'Pythonic, Blackaddery excellence' - ***** (The List) ***** (Metro) ***** (ThreeWeeks) Sell-out 06-08. From BBC2 and BBC Radio 4.

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