Theatre - Bless
Brighton-based physical theatre troupe Spymonkey describe themselves as ‘a cross between the Marx Brothers and Fawlty Towers’, combining slapstick-style comedy with an impressive display of physical dexterity. Their previous show, Cooped, played to enormous acclaim, drawing praise for its ‘carefully crafted form of lunacy.’ After a spell in Las Vegas with the Cirque Du Soleil, they return tonight with a spring preview of their latest offering, Bless. The third Spymonkey show to have emerged from a collaboration with Cal McCrystal, (who has also worked on the successful TV production, The Mighty Boosh), it tells the story of the anarchic consequences of casting a bunch of unreformed prisoners in the starring roles of a show about the lives of the Christian Saints.
With an explicit agenda to ‘provoke as much as to entertain’, (highlights include a Vegas Cabaret performance of the life of Joan of Arc, and a modernist interpretation of Oscar Wilde's poem Salome featuring Iokanaan The Prophet), I ask performer Toby Park if we should expect protests outside the theatre doors. “I wouldn’t want people to come in and think that they are being lampooned for their faith”, he tells me. “We are interested in how the Church uses these stories to get one over on people. But we like stupidity, and so we are attracted to the stupidity of people who think they are better or more pious than others.” Personally, I should follow the advice of one reviewer who says simply, ‘Go. See them. Laugh’. ER