Curse of the Mummy
- Jordan Shaw
- 6 August 2017
A Pythonesque clinic in turning a small budget into big laughs
All the sexiest folk villains – pirates, vampires, werewolves – have enjoyed periods of cultural renaissance in recent years, yet one particular terror-monger seems to have been unjustly passed over. In their latest show, Last Chance Saloon attempt to right this egregious wrong, bringing the unfairly forgotten mummy back from the dead in a flawed but undeniably entertaining Fringe return.
Curse of the Mummy's story is self-consciously derivative: a stock adventure tale, peppered with the company's absurd twists. A hapless university professor named Montana Jones unwittingly resurrects an Egyptian mummy, with whom he must travel the weathered path from Peebles to Cairo to keep the mummy's ancient gold from falling into the hands of local effeminate Nazi, Dean.
This rickety plotline provides the framework for an unapologetic oddball of a show, which blasts adventure clichés with a slew of pop culture references and an endearingly daft sense of humour. The sheer unselfconscious, infectious joy the trio of performers take in their archaeological antics belies some deeply impressive theatrical technique. Jack Gogarty, Sam Dunham, and Jack Faires masterfully handle the often-dreaded audience interaction, easily winning the crowd's favour.
Curse of the Mummy is far from perfect, often seeming uncertain about its own target audience. The exaggerated performances and zany physical gags are perfectly pitched for young theatregoers, but the show is replete with none-too-subtle innuendos that limit it to an older crowd. This tonal equivocation is something of a disruptive force, as it's in these forced double-entendres that the show is often at its weakest, their crudeness undermining the group's impressive physical comedy. When they dive headlong into slapstick humour and clownish badinage, it's an utter delight.
As the cast jokingly acknowledge, it's not intellectual fare, but if you like your theatre slightly bonkers and your baddies tightly bandaged, it's an hour of unabashedly silly Fringe fun.
Just the Tonic at The Caves, until 26 Aug (not 14), 7.30pm, £8–£10 (£7–£9).