It's time for my review of Up the Bunty.
Remember the ‘Soaparetta’s’, the weekly musical soap opera that dominated British TV in the late 1970s with their saucy jokes and catchy tunes? Neither does anyone else, but that won’t stop tyrannical producer Harry Hepworth from blundering ahead with a hastily put together theatre reunion in sunny Southend funded by an anonymous backer. With a cast made up of past their prime, egocentric thespians and a one hit wonder, Harry needs a secret weapon to attract an audience – Bunty the Beaver.
Up the Bunty is a comedy, predominantly featuring a combination of both slapstick and dark comedy. The show's humour is quite particular, and may not appeal to everyone. Whilst some jokes are stronger than others, Up the Bunty does have a fair amount of rather amusing moments throughout. The show advertises itself as featuring comedy similar to that of the 'Carry On' film franchise, and as a result Up the Bunty is perfect for anyone with this certain taste in comedy. The show's story was interesting to watch unfold, and the numerous plot twists were certainly enough to keep the audience engaged. A lot happens throughout the course of the show, and there are very few dull moments. My only critique for the show's writing is that I feel Up the Bunty could have perhaps benefited from being 15-20 minutes shorter. The show currently stands at 1 hour and 30 minutes, and it is possible that trimming the running time a little bit may prove beneficial. In order to break up certain scenes, the show makes use of video projections of comedy skits and interviews are shown. I personally could not really see the need for the video projections, and did not feel that it added a great deal to the play. As a result, removing, or shortening, the video projections could potentially help to reduce the play's running time.
Overall, the cast of Up the Bunty are rather talented. Each portrayal is exceedingly hyperbolic, but this worked well when considering the exaggerated nature of the play. All of the six cast members put their all into the performances, giving maximum amounts of energy throughout. Additionally, they all seemed to really be enjoying themselves onstage, which in turn made them a true delight to watch. A special mention must be given to Lucie Neale, who portrayed Antigone 'Go-Go' Jones. Neale was extremely well-suited to the role, and was very believable. Jess Nesling, as Pamela Maitland, was also a particular highlight of Up the Bunty. Nesling was excellent, and convincingly pulled off a variety of different accents. In addition to this, both Neale and Nesling had excellent singing voices.
Now for my final verdict on Up the Bunty. I give Up the Bunty...
Whilst Up the Bunty did have some elements which were perhaps not needed, there are still a number of hilarious moments, aided by an energetic and talented cast of skilled performers.
Think it should have got a higher rating? Agree with my rating? Think it should have got a lower rating? If so comment below.
Thanks for reading!
-The Basic Theatre Reviewer