Friday, 1 August 2014

Theatre review: The Get Out

The Royal Court tends to have a bit of a siesta over August, but before it shuts up shop, three performances only of a sketch show that doesn't look anywhere near as hastily put-together as it actually is: Based on a project done as part of last year's Open Court, Anthony Neilson, who also directs, asked for submissions a few weeks ago for comic sketches, by anyone who'd ever worked at the Royal Court in any capacity. He and Robin French went through 50 submitted pieces and have compiled the best into The Get Out (unfortunately the cast-sheet doesn't list the writers who made the final cut.) Pippa Bennett-Warner, Imogen Doel, Nathaniel Martello-White, Jonjo O'Neill, Barnaby Power and Sophie Russell are the cast, and the framing device is an awards ceremony where some kind of disaster has reduced the venue to rubble, but everyone's still desperate to pick up a statuette.

So the cast are in torn and dusty tuxedos and ballgowns as they go through an hour and a quarter of very silly, but mostly very good comedy pieces.

The tone is set by an opening sketch in which a suburban neighbourhood is terrorised by giant babies and roaming gangs of Regency fops, while other highlights are O'Neill as a sex-pest James Bond, and Doel running an agency that hires out arseholes to ruin social occasions.

My favourite was probably the scene of Martello-White as a Jedi who's turned to the Dark Side only to be terribly disappointed by his new Sith name (Darth Pump,) but the single moment of the evening has to be in a scene about a couple talking dirty, and O'Neill's delivery of the line (Spoiler alert!) "Mr Pipkins." (Although now I want to see Bennett-Warner do more comedy because her reaction is almost as good.) The show ends with Doel as a singing vagina, because of course it does. Catch the last performance if you can.

The Get Out by various authors, conceived by Robin French and Anthony Neilson, is booking until the 2nd of August at the Royal Court's Jerwood Theatre Upstairs.

Running time: 1 hour 15 minutes straight through.

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