Up The Bunty - Review
“Up The Bunty” focuses on a theatre show revival of the imaginary 70’s TV show “The Soparetta’s”. The show’s main characters are performing including a puppet, Bunty the Beaver, who appeared in the first series. Bunty always saved the day, which resulted in the cast all shouting “Up The Bunty” in every episode. But the cast are evidently not the best of friends and soon a mystery emerges as one of the cast is violently killed.
It’s a joyful old school romp which wouldn’t be out of place in the Carry On film series. The usual clichéd characters are all present and accounted for. The overtly camp gay guy, the inexplicably dumb blonde, the long suffering director, along with some gloriously awful wigs. Stereotypes tend to be the order of the day and we don’t delve too deep into the characters but with some superbly over the top characters and performances this isn’t a negative. The cast really catch the essence of the show and are a delight to watch.
Between scenes we are shown clips from an earlier reunion TV show projected onto the back of the stage. These are interviews and excerpts from “The Soparetta’s”. The interviews lacked any impact but the episodes were enjoyable and silly, especially one involving a shark.
Where the show fell down was in the direction. There were some truly belly laugh moments (the albatross was a highlight) but you can see a lot more humour in the script that doesn’t translate onto the stage. A lot is to do with the delivery of many of the lines (which seems to be based on direction rather than acting) most evident in the “Up The Bunty” line, which is woefully underutilised. And other early lines that are important later in the story aren’t given the emphasis they need. But most importantly the direction also lacked pace causing the humour to be lost. This is starkly different in the musical numbers where the music dictates the timing and the comedy comes through loud and clear.
The plot for the show is enjoyable, especially when it takes a sinister turn with one of the cast being mysteriously murdered. There could be a quicker build up to this as the story is seemingly thin before then. However, this would be addressed by tightening up earlier scenes.
The show certainly has a lot of potential and it has a well-written witty script but the production needs more work to really bring this out. We'd love to see this developed further but on the current production we give this two stars.
It plays at the Lion and Unicorn Theatre until Sunday December 15th.