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Theatre review: Death Ship 666! at the Jermyn Street Theatre

PUBLISHED: 11:53 13 December 2013 | UPDATED: 11:10 19 December 2013

Michael Clarkson (Rich Man) Carrie Marx (Hollie Hobby) and Anna Morris (Rich Lady)

Michael Clarkson (Rich Man) Carrie Marx (Hollie Hobby) and Anna Morris (Rich Lady)

Archant

The farce is often unfairly sneered at as a model of comedy, seen as unfashionable and somehow as the cheap relation to sophisticated wordplay.

This is not always fair, as the art of a good farce is a consummate skill requiring machine gun precision and taut execution.

If the key to comedy generally is timing, then farce requires a further two; the rhythm of accumulation and the brio of eager physicality.

Death Ship 666! crashes into the West End on a shoestring budget but with bags of witty invention.

It is a disaster movie parody of epic proportions, especially for the cast of six, as they commandeer in excess of 30 diverse characters ­between them.

There are evil schemes aplenty on the menu and the promise of a ship’s voyage scuppered for financial gain.

Havoc and humour run rampage. Aside from being one of the writers, Michael Patrick Clarkson stands tall as an actor/performer in his own right. He is fantastic in his variety of roles.

Not outdone, Rachel Parris, Mattias Penman, Anna Morris, Carrie Marx and Andrew Utley are all equally magnificent.

The conveyor belt of jokes arrive thick and fast. In fact, so fast are they that even as some fall flat, others appear very shortly thereafter prompting further hearty chuckles.

There is an ebullience here that is contagious, with enough sparkle to transport all present to the imaginary ship gracing the stage.

That is not say that there aren’t missteps – it is arguable that there are simply too many characters and some provide little to the narrative or the comedy – a sterner eye would have cut the excess. However, this comedy has a hit ratio that makes the cheeks ache.

All the participants here will go on to even greater success further along down the line.

See their first tentative steps in that direction. Recommended.

****

Death Ship 666! is at the Jermyn Street Theatre until Sunday


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