30 June 2010

As You [Don't] Like It - The Old Vic, Friday 25th June 2010

Frederick has usurped the Duchy and exiled his older brother, Duke Senior. The Duke's daughter Rosalind has been permitted to remain at court because she is the closest friend and cousin of Frederick's only child, Celia. Orlando, a young gentleman of the kingdom who has fallen in love with Rosalind, is forced to flee his home after being persecuted by his older brother, Oliver. Frederick becomes angry and banishes Rosalind from court. Celia and Rosalind decide to flee together accompanied by the jester Touchstone, with Rosalind disguised as a young man.

Rosalind (disguised as Ganymede) and Celia (taking the name Aliena), arrive in the Forest of Arden . "Ganymede" and "Aliena"  meet up with Corin, a shepherd, and offer to buy his master's cottage. All are unaware that the exiled Duke and some supporters are also living in the Forest

Orlando and his servant Adam find the Duke and his men, and are soon living with them and hanging  love poems for Rosalind on the trees. Rosalind, also in love with Orlando, meets him as Ganymede and pretends to counsel him to cure him of being in love. Ganymede says "he" will take Rosalind's place and "he" and Orlando can act out their relationship.

Meanwhile, the shepherdess Phoebe, with whom Silvius (yet another shepherd)  is in love, has fallen in love with "Ganymede", who continually shows that "he" is not interested in Phoebe. The cynical Touchstone has also made amorous advances towards the dull-witted goat-herd girl Audrey, and attempts to marry her before his plans are thwarted.

Finally, Silvius, Phoebe, Ganymede, and Orlando are brought together in an argument with each other over who will get whom. Ganymede says he will solve the problem, having Orlando promise to marry Rosalind, and Phoebe promise to marry Silvius if she cannot marry Ganymede. The next day, Ganymede reveals himself to be Rosalind, and since Phoebe cannot marry her, she ends up with Silvius.

Orlando sees Oliver in the forest and rescues him from a lioness, causing Oliver to repent for mistreating Orlando. Oliver meets "Aliena" and falls in love with her, and they agree to marry. Orlando and Rosalind, Oliver and Celia, Silvius and Phebe, and Touchstone and Audrey all are married in the final scene, after which they discover that Frederick has also repented his faults, deciding to restore his legitimate brother to the dukedom.
Creative Team:
Director: Sam Mendes

Design: Tom Piper
Costume: Catherine Zuber
Lighting: Paul Pyant
Sound: Simon Baker
Music: Josh Prince
Choreographer: Josh Prince

Orlando: Christian Camargo
Jaques: Stephen Dillane
Charles the Wrestler: Ron Cephas Jones
Rosalind: Juliet Rylance
Touchstone: Thomas Sadoski
Celia: Michelle Beck
Phoebe: Ashlie Atkinson
Audrey: Jenni Barber
Oliver: Edward Bennett
Adam: Alvin Esptein
Le Beau: Jonathan Fried
Amiens: Richard Hansell
Silvius: Aaron Krohn
Corin: Anthony O'Donnell
Dukes Frederick and Senior: Michael Thomas

Of all the stories Shakespeare never wrote, this has to be the stupidest of them. Him Indoors has been known to clasp his hands together and go all misty-eyed when talking about this play, often waxing lyrical along the lines of “[adopts Zippy from “Rainbow” voice] Oh, the imagery breaks through just like the first daffodils of spring, Jeffrey” (although this resonance is lost in this production as the seasons leapfrog from deepest winter to golden autumn rather than to early spring, as is usual with this play). Me, I sit there with “that” face on muttering about complete lack of credibility, an even lamer “Clown” character than normal (if humanly possible) and the fact that the “Ganymede” scenes just go on and on and on and make me want to scream (what also made me want to scream was the lack of synopsis in the programme – a worrying development about which more anon). Honestly, there really is something that gets my goat about this play and I’d be quite happy if I never had to sit through all that bloody nancing about in the fecking Forest of fecking Arden ever again.
Happily, I’d been suffering through a bout of severe insomnia over the previous three or four nights, and a seat in a darkened theatre on a warm evening was practically the perfect cure for this. I just switched completely off, shut my eyes, rested my head against the lighting desk behind me and dozed my way through more or less the entire evening (only the second time I have ever done this – I didn’t see much of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? either and frankly think I had a lucky escape), only surfacing occasionally during the rare occasions on which the audience tittered. One thought did occur to me early on in the play (at a point when I was still vaguely alert) and that was – if Rosalind and Celia are going into hiding in the forest, their plan would only be successful if both disguised themselves. Rosalind gets in touch with her inner dyke and dresses up as a bloke – but Celia’s “disguise” consists merely of changing her name. Oh yeah, that’s really gonna fool people, Sherlock. As is the Duke’s wheeze of hiding out in the forest of frigging Arden with a load of courtiers and hoping nobody will notice.

Anyway, I didn’t really see enough of this to give anything like a proper review, but I can tell you that it was a modern-dress production (LAZY!), that Juliet Rylance confuses “projection” with “SHOUTING”, that Stephen Dillane’s impression of Bob Dylan is not funny, merely as excruciatingly embarrassing (if not more so) as Mandy Patinkin in Paradise Found and that the clowning role of Touchstone is as hysterically amusing as a bad dose of piles. there was also some of the most embarrassingly bad stage fighting I've seen in a long, long time. Perhaps I might have been persuaded to pay a bit more attention if I’d known what was going on – this not being my favourite play I’ve never really got my head around exactly what is happening and, scanning through the programme to try and find a synopsis for a quick bit of boning up, realised that The Old Vic is going the same way as The National and not putting any plot outlines in their programmes. Its all very well having erudite and fascinating essays about Shakespeare’s inside leg measurement and what he may or may not have had for breakfast on the day of the first performance if you don’t have a clue what the feck is going on and haven’t had a chance to look it up beforehand (Him Indoors offered me the use of his “Lamb’s Tales from Shakespeare” afterwards, which is aimed at 7 – 10 year olds, showing nicely what he thinks of my intellectual capabilities. Cheers Hon!).

Anyway, the seat was very comfortable and I enjoyed my nap.

What the critics who stayed awake thought:






06 June 2010

After the Dance - National Theatre, Saturday 5th June 2010


1939. Mayfair. David and Joan Scott-Fowler are a high-living and hard-drinking couple who are still trying to live the hedonistic excess of their - and the century's - twenties. Through the eyes of a younger generation, the endless drinking, partying and gossip look dangerously frivolous as Europe falls towards another war. As the world races towards catastrophe, a crowd of Mayfair socialites party their way to oblivion. At its centre is David, who idles away his sober moments researching a futile book until the beautiful Helen decides to save him, shattering his marriage and learning too late the depth of both David’s indolence and his wife’s undeclared love. But with finances about to crash and humanity on the brink of global conflict, the drink keeps flowing and the revellers dance on.


David Scott-Fowler: Benedict Cumberbatch
Joan, his wife: Nancy Carroll
David, his cousin: John Heffernan
Helen Banner, David’s fiancée – Faye Castelow
Dr. George Banner, Helen’s brother – Giles Cooper
John Reid: Adrian Scarborough
Williams: Nicholas Lumley
Julia Browne: Pandora Colin
Miss Potter: Jenny Galloway

Creative Team:
Director: Thea Sharrock
Designer: Hildegard Bechtler
Lighting: Mark Henderson
Music: Adrian Johnstone

Its hard to believe that I saw a preview performance of this, because its really difficult to see how it could get any better. Modern critics of Rattigan may dismiss him as a purveyor of tired old warhorses, rather in the same mould as Priestley. At first glance, the play isn’t going to win any awards for the world’s most exciting drama. But After The Dance is a solidly crafted and intelligent piece, slowly building both character development and plot. There are moments of high comedy and of almost unbearable pathos. There are times, of course, when it feels a little dated, but this is a playwright who obviously knew what he was doing, and studying this production could teach some modern writers exactly how to construct a successful play. The director and designer could also give lessons in staging one, and the cast in how to perform one. The lighting director could certainly give masterclasses in how to light one. It’s the kind of production that the National should be championing – the place was packed out and the entire audience appeared to enjoy themselves – in fact, the chap in the row in front of me sat enraptured for the entire performance, even having to dab at his eyes with a hanky at one point (a little OTT, perhaps, but an endorsement nonetheless). Three hours literally sped by, despite my cramped seat, the heat of the evening and the rather off-putting noise from the pigeons nesting in the fly tower.

It looks gorgeous, with a sumptuously detailed set that brought to mind last year’s Time and the Conways (a tiny, tiny point I noticed, however, was that the table lamp had a square, three-pin plug when it should have been a round, two-pin one given the setting of 1938. I was also a little concerned to realise that the French windows didn’t have any glass in, making me wonder if any of the cast would be tempted to step through without opening them, a la Morecambe and Wise). The set was lit wonderfully, and if you decide to go and see this production, then please do take a second or two to notice how well the lighting designer has done his work – particularly the view through the windows and particularly in the party scene (doing so will also make sure you don’t miss what the couple on the balcony are discovered doing when the curtains are pulled back – the auditorium exploded with laughter at this point). The costumes are good too, although I did find myself wishing that they all hadn’t quite so obviously been designed to blend well with the set, and that Benedict Cumberbatch hadn’t been in the same costume for the entire performance, even though six months are supposed to elapse. Direction was spare, elegant and unfussy (like the set) when it needed to be, and intricate when necessary, with a particularly clever “wipe” between the two scenes of Act 2.
Even though the clipped vowels, hard consonants and speech rhythms of the late 1930s have been preserved and therefore make the play initially sound somewhat dated to modern ears, these are so consistently and faultlessly employed that after a short while your ear assimilates them and it becomes like listening to a period film. For me, this also served to heighten the effect – some phrases which would just sound totally ridiculous when given in modern speech patterns somehow seemed to ring truer or funnier for their “period delivery”. Some characters are almost parodies of the kind of parts you might find in Noel Coward, and are played as such, which has the strange effect of making the other characters considerably more human – even though they may be arrogantly disaffected or hopelessly naïve. In this zoo, the monsters are outside the bars and looking in, even though they don’t realise that their world is closing in on them. It might just be safer to be inside the cage than outside it.

Macbeth - Globe Theatre, Friday 4th June 2010

Macbeth, Thane of Glamis, is one of King Duncan's greatest war captains. Upon returning from a battle with the rebellious Thane of Cawdor, Macbeth and Banquo encounter three witches. A prophecy is given to them: Macbeth is hailed as Thane of Glamis, Thane of Cawdor, and King; Banquo is hailed as the father of kings to come. With that, the witches evaporate into the mists. Both men nervously laugh off the prophecies until Duncan informs Macbeth that he is to assume Cawdor's title as a reward for his service to the king. When Lady Macbeth is informed of the events, she determines to push her husband's resolve in the matter—she wants him to take his fate into his own hands and make himself king. If Duncan happens to be inconveniently in the way....
Macbeth at first is reluctant to do harm to Duncan. However, when Duncan makes arrangements to visit the castle, the opportunity presents itself too boldly to ignore. Pressed on by his wife, they plot Duncan's death. Lady Macbeth gets Duncan's attendants drunk; Macbeth will slip in with his dagger, kill the king, and plant the dagger on the drunken guards. Macbeth, in a quiet moment alone, imagines he sees a bloody dagger appear in the air; upon hearing the tolling bells, he sets to work. Immediately Macbeth feels the guilt and shame of his act, as does Lady Macbeth, who nonetheless finds the inner strength to return to Duncan's chamber to plant the dagger on the attendants when Macbeth refuses to go back in there. When the body is discovered, Macbeth immediately slays the attendants—he says out of rage and grief—in order to silence them. Malcolm and Donalbain, Duncan's sons, both flee Scotland (fearful for their own lives). To everyone else, it appears that the sons have been the chief conspirators, and Macbeth is crowned King of Scotland, thus fulfilling the witches' prophecy. Banquo, however, has suspicions of his own based on their encounter with the witches.
Macbeth knows of Banquo's suspicions and the reasons for them; he is also wary of the second prophecy concerning Banquo's offspring. As he prepares for a celebratory banquet on his coronation, Macbeth hires assassins to get rid of Banquo and Fleance, his son. Banquo is murdered that night, but Fleance escapes into the darkness. As Macbeth sits down to the feast, the bloody ghost of Banquo silently torments him, which causes him great despair. Meanwhile, Macduff has fled to England because he too suspects Macbeth of foul play. Macbeth, once a man of greatness, transforms into a man whose conscience has fled him. Upon learning of Macduff's flight, Macbeth exacts revenge by having Macduff's entire household butchered. Macduff grieves, but joins up with Malcolm in England to raise an army against Macbeth.

Macbeth is given another prophecy by the witches as he prepares for Malcolm's assault. His throne is safe until Birnam Wood comes to Dunsinane, and he will not die by the hand of any man born of a woman. Macbeth feels confident in his chances for victory at this pronouncement. Lady Macbeth, on the other hand, has been slowly driven mad by her dreams in the wake of killing Duncan. She sleepwalks, wringing her hands together, and inadvertently reveals her part in the murder. As the English armies approach, Macbeth learns that many of his lords are deserting him, and that Lady Macbeth has died. On top of this, a messenger brings news that Malcolm's army is approaching under the cover of boughs, which they have cut from the trees of Birnam Wood. Resigned now to his fate, Macbeth grimly sets to battle.
None, however, can bring Macbeth down. Finally, Macduff meets him on the field of battle. Macbeth laughs hollowly, telling him of the witches' prophecy: no man born of a woman may slay him. As Macduff retorts, he was "from my mother's womb untimely ripp'd," meaning he was delivered by a Caesarian section (and hence, not technically born of a woman). Grimly, Macbeth presses on. The play ends with the death of Macbeth; Macduff greets the others bearing Macbeth's head. Malcolm is crowned King of Scotland, restoring his father's bloodline to the throne.


Witches: Janet Fullerlove, Simone Kirby, Karen Anderson
Duncan: James Clyde
Malcolm: James McArdle
Donalbain: Craig Vye
Macduff: Keith Dunphy
Cawdor: Ken Shorter
Macbeth: Elliot Cowan
Banquo: Christian Bradley
Lady Macbeth: Laura Rogers
Porter: Frank Scantori

Creative team:
Director: Lucy Bailey
Designer: Katrina Lindsay
Music: Orlando Gough
Movement/Choreography: Javier de Frutos
Costumes: Poppy Hall

Ironically, the one Shakespeare play I really enjoyed reading (I had flu so was confined to bed, but managed to get through the entire play in one go) is the one that I have the most trouble with when seeing it performed. With a lot of Shakespeare, I find that unless one knows the text well or steel yourself to concentrate really hard on what is actually being said, there is always the danger of letting the words go through one ear and out the other without going through the brain. Every time I’ve seen Macbeth, my brain seems to shut down and all I can hear is words – lots and lots and lots of them in a seemingly endless progression. And so it was with this production – which I shamefacedly admit deserved more effort from me. Perhaps it was because the very hot weather had made me too tired to really concentrate, or because I find being a Groudling exhausting (three hours is a very long time to stand in one place), or whether the strange setup (an enormous circular tarpaulin is suspended around the stage and the Groundlings poke their heads through, meaning you can’t sit down or all you’ll see is other people’s headless bodies in the gloom underneath the tarp) was physically weighing me down and making my shoulders ache but I really had trouble engaging with this. And I shouldn’t have done because it was artistically and technically a brilliant production and seemed to go down a storm with everybody else (Him Indoors is still raving about it – or maybe he’s just raving; like with Shakespeare, sometimes I just stop listening!).

It was probably the goriest Macbeth I’ve ever seen – shares in fake blood have probably gone through the roof since this opened. Blood and dirt and gore were seemingly everywhere (as was saliva, but I’ll come back to that). And it was certainly the most unsettling staging, with many characters making their entrances, unseen, from below the stage and coming up through holes in the tarpaulin, even before the performance had actually begun (I really liked the idea of having the three witches terrorise the audience – someone even had their purse pinched and waved gleefully from the stage). Various hunky gentlemen with their torsos smeared in gore writhed around the stage – were their throes the agonies of birth or death? Or both? A misshapen, hairy troll (later identified as Macbeth’s gatekeeper) patrolled the stage. So it all got off to an interesting start, and got gorier and gorier as the body count started to rise. And then Elliot Cowan strode on in the title role – hunky, lithe and butch as all get-out (MacBuff, perhaps?). But I couldn’t hear him; his diction was so poor that it was like listening to those sounds you hear at the swimming pool when you duck your head under the water - "buhBWAH bwahbwahbwahBWAH" (one of the pro reviews has suggested he spend less time at the gym and more time with the vocal coach). When he was audible his lower face was so slathered in saliva that he looked like a ravening dog; as I was in the front row and unable to move because of the tarpaulin arrangement I spent a lot of time worrying that that I was going to get sprayed in it. And when you can’t hear your Macbeth you’re in trouble. So, regrettably, I started to switch my brain off, relying on visuals to carry me through.
Fortunately there was plenty for the eye to engage with – the “look” of this production is fantastic. The costumes are all seemingly cobbled together from modern dress, altered to give a vaguely medieval feel, distressed and tattered and down at heel. The three witches wore Globe Stewards tabards, muddied and battered and ragged, giving the audience the disquieting impression that, within the performance area, the modern world was in abeyance and that they were in charge of us, controlling and directing our perceptions. Lady Macbeth wore, for the most part, a simple analgesics white shift, topped with a loose crocheted top in steel grey that suggested both cocktail frock and chain mail. The simple black net curtain, moving around a circular track hung high above the stage, was an effective space divider and was used very creatively as an actual curtain, a wall, the dividing line between worlds and, when twisted into a rope-like shape, as tree trunks. And there’s much use made of the holes in the stage as entrances, exits, graves and, in the famous “hubble bubble, toil and trouble” scene, as the cauldron itself, into which Macbeth is stripped and dipped, like a lamb being disinfected before going off to the slaughterhouse.

There are some fine performances; although Mr. Cowan can’t be heard a lot of the time, he certainly invests the part with considerable emotional oomph. Janet Fullerlove, Simone Kirby and Karen Anderson proved that the three witches are, collectively, a major character in the drama, directing and controlling and ever-present as they shape the story to their own ends. By contrast, Laura Rogers seemed to make slight impression as Lady Macbeth – the sleepwalking scene was, for me, not nearly intense or controlled enough. And by the end, I felt rather like I was sleepwalking myself. Which I shouldn’t have been, because this production deserved better from me.

What the critics thought:





03 June 2010

Spamalot - Wimbledon Theatre, Thursday 3rd June 2010

It is 932 A.D. in England, and King Arthur, joined by his servant Patsy, is riding through the land trying to find men to join his Round Table. Arthur is frustrated by several failed recruitment attempts, including one with an awfully resilient Black Knight, but his luck might not stay bad for long. In a near village, Sir Lancelot the Brave and Sir Robin the Not-Quite-So-Brave-as-Sir-Lancelot and decide to enlist in the army, because unlike some other villagers, they are not yet dead. Meanwhile, Arthur continues to look for able-bodied men, and soon finds Dennis Galahad and his mother, both of whom are politically active peasants that doubt Arthur is really a king. However, the Lady of the Lake, who is a temperamental diva and years earlier pronounced Arthur King of the Britons, is called upon to convince the doubting Dennis. The Lady ofthe Lake and Sir Galahad share an appropriately timed heart-felt moment It is not long before the King receives a quest from God himself to go in search of the Holy Grail, and they eventually make their way to Camelot There the Lady of the Lake encourages Arthur not to lose his way and the Knights set off once again on their quest. Now at their destination, the Knights are scared a gang of taunting French sentries.
After their defeat, at the castle, King Arthur is utterly disheartened, and having fled from the Frenchmen's taunting, the Knights find themselves scattered about in a dark and very expensive forest. King Arthur and Patsy stumble upon the most feared group in all the land, the Knights who say “Ni”. Though things seem rough, Patsy convinces Arthur all is not lost. Robin and his Minstrels are also making their way through the forest and soon join back with King Arthur. As a payment for passing the bridge they guard, the Knights who say "Ni" demand, as their second sacrifice, not another shrubbery but a Broadway musical from King Arthur and his Knights.
Elsewhere, the Lady of the Lake wonders why she has been left out of the quest while Prince Herbert, the son of the King of Swamp Castle, waits in his tower for his rescuer to come. Thankfully, luck is on Prince Herbert’s side, because Sir Lancelot arrives to save him from the clutches of his father.

Unable to complete his journey, King Arthur is thoroughly upset until the Lady of the Lake arrives to give him her final words of encouragement and he is able to go on. Before their journey is complete the Knights of the Round Table encounter a pyromaniac Enchanter called "Tim", and then must defeat the Killer Rabbit of Antioch with a new type of weapon for which they receive thorough operating instructions from Brother Maynard and the Monks. The Knights overcome these obstacles and by the end are celebrating with a Broadway wedding.

King Arthur: Graham MacDuff
Lady of the Lake: Jodie Prenger
Patsy: Todd Carty
Sir Bedevere/Dennis's Mother: Robin Armstrong
Sir Robin: Sam Holmes
Prince Herbert: David Langham
Sir Galahad: Simon Lipkin
God: Eric Idle

Creative Team:
Director: Christopher Luscombe
Set and Costumes: Hugh Durrant
Choreographer: Jenny Arnold
Lighting: Nick Richings

Marmite, peanut butter, Alan Titchmarsh, Monty Python - all things that divide people into two opposing camps. There is no middle ground on any of them - you either love them or you loathe them. I loathe them (all of them).  I've never really understood Python's so-called "humour" - its blokeish yet conversely of that slightly smug, privileged  "Oxbridge Footlights" feel.  Him Indoors knows I don't like it, so I really have no idea why he was so excited about getting tickets to see the touring version.  In Wimbledon. At a matinee performance. During half term.  On the hottest afternoon of the year. 

We theatregoers have to put up with all sorts of idiots in the audience.  The sweet paper rustlers.  The people in the middle of the row  who wait until half way through Act 1 before deciding that they should, in fact, have gone to the toilet before the show started. The mobile phone chatterer.  The pensioners unable to deal with the complex problem of finding their seats.  The over-excited child whose parent has no disciplinary control.  They were all there yesterday.  And now we have a new breed to contend with - The Bloke Showing Off With His Ipad. He was there too, in the row in front, grinning like a new father and self-consciously playing with his new penis extension in the hope that another nearby anorak will whistle "kewl!" and ask to have a go.

So I wasn't really in the greatest of moods when the curtain went up.  And neither was I in the greatest of moods when the curtain came down again, having sat through 2 and a bit hours of the most puerile rubbish I've seen since - well, a couple of weeks ago, really.  It was like being at a riotous party where everyone else spoke a different language and you found yourself standing in the corner with a glass of warm Riesling and counting the peanuts in a bowl on a nearby table.  I tried and tried and tried to understand what everyone else was howling at, but all I could see was a slightly tatty panto with a puerile script, in which all the actors on stage seemed to be trying to make each other corpse by rolling their eyes and gurning at each other while regularly throwing ad-libs into their lines.  I'm sure this must be fun to do but it wasn't fun to watch. 

Having looked at pictures of the original London and Broadway productions (bugger only knows what the Americans must have thought of the show; I hope to god they didn't think all English humour was like that), its obvious that this is a really cheap touring production of what must have been quite a spectacularly staged show. One-and-a-bit sets does all.  A lot of what were apparently quite sophisticated references to the musical genre have been jettisoned (apparently, The Lady of the Lake sang her entrance number in  a gothic boat surrounded by mist, parodying Phantom of the Opera, for instance. This has disappeared, so we are left with just the song and bugger the irony).   The cast have been cut down to the utter minimum - all but two of the cast are somebody else's understudy, with most people understudying two roles.  What it must be like when there's a bad case of the squitters running through the company is anybody's guess.  The female chorus now numbers only 2; subsequently they have to change their costumes every 13.7 seconds and be a peasant, mermaid, knight or whatever with barely time to stagger into the wings, have a quick draw on a cigarette and strip to their scanties before donning something else and staggering back on again. Its a pale shadow of its former self, chucked onto the road to make Mr. Idle a quick buck. 

This show also got my goat because of its "comedy gay element" (for those of you not in the know, Sir Lancelot discovers a letter from what he thinks is a damsel in distress, only to find that the damsel is a show-tune singing Queen of a different kind.  Lancelot then strips to a spangly jock strap and "comes out" to a HiNRG club anthem).  Stuff like this really is incredibly dated.  I'm sure it was just about par for the course  in 1975 when the film version hit the screen - a time when "jokes" about blacks, gays, mothers in law and comedy foreigners were all the rage, but its inclusion in a modern show just proves that, essentially, for all our vine-ripened tomatoes, ethically sourced washing powder and low-alcohol lager, there is still a "caveman" element to humour that thinks jokes about queers are still acceptable.  And, even worse, hysterically funny.  I'm sorry, I'm not buying into this.  It's a throwback to the "backs to the wall, lads" pub 'humour' that should have died out in this country decades ago.  It may have been funny (to a certain section of society) in 1975 but it isn't funny now.  Its just lazy and offensive.  It ain't funny.

By all means go and see this show if you're a 40-something heterosexual male who delights in getting tanked up with the lads and endlessly repeating "He's not the Messiah, he's a very naughty boy" in a high pitched voice, a smack-head student who thinks that endlessly quoting The Parrot Sketch passes for wit, or a hassled parent desperate for a summer panto to entertain their kids with.  Or indeed, A Bloke Who Wants To Show Off Your New Ipad.  This might just be about your level.  Me?  I'd rather stick pins in my eyes than sit through this puerile rubbish again.