Wednesday, 11 March 2015
Theatre review: Lardo
Stone has come up with a fun script on a subject that's pretty niche nowadays, but Finn Caldwell's production takes it and runs with it, relishing the opportunity to put all the silliness of scripted wrestling onto the stage.
From the opening moments it's obvious the cast are going to happily throw themselves around the stage in the fight scenes (choreographed by Henry Devas) as well as getting the audience into the spirit of things by encouraging cheers and boos, Zoe Hunter's Whiplash Mary in particular getting a lot of fun out of antagonising the audience.
But Caldwell's production is also a detailed one that mines the laughs from the script as well as the physical comedy - there's always something going on in the background, and there's the requisite fish out of water in Cassie (Rebecca Pownall,) a health and safety officer willing to overlook the odd Buckfast bottle getting smashed over the crowd if she can get some alone time with the charming but dangerous Stairs.
With his selection of dazed facial expressions and boundless enthusiasm Buckley is a likeable lead - he needs to be, as his character actually isn't: He may be the popular underdog but Lardo's way too self-absorbed to really care about - even after being separated from Kelly for some time he only says he misses her because he wants to tell her what he's been up to. But although dipping its toe into a darker side of its characters and setting, Lardo remains for the most part a raucous comedy, and one that kept a grin plastered to my face more or less for the duration.
Lardo by Mike Stone is booking until the 29th of March at the Old Red Lion Theatre.
Running time: 1 hour 55 minutes including interval.