Ever think that occasionally all you really want from a theatrical experience is a good, fun night out, where you can willingly suspend your disbelief and just enjoy the show? Yep me too, and luckily you can, by getting down to the King’s Head Theatre and seeing Wayne Gumble’s production of “Stand and Deliver”
Fenton (Adam Scott Pringle) – a man who believes he shares some physical resemblances to Stansted Airport – is moving home and hands over a box of delights to his best friend, and fellow Enfield FC, supporter Frank Goldenboy (Alex Murphy) who returns home rather than listen to yet another argument between Fenton and his wife (Regan Gumble). On the way home Frank manages to receive a blow to the head (either by falling over after 1 too many sherberts or being attacked by a local hoody) and returns to his garage where his two adoring children Paris (Robyn Howe) and Antwerp (Rob Peacock) are having a bit of a clear out. Now, what Frank doesn’t know is that his life is being observed by the latest in reality television shows. Hosted by the (some might say vampish, others might think slut) Ulrika Pearce (Sara Lynam) and her football pundit side-kick Mmbop Hansen (Joey Bartram), they keep a very close eye on Frank and his children, and provide a commentary on their doings.
Looking through Fenton’s box brings back happy memories of the 1980s to Frank, when his club were almost FA Cup giant killers. Alas, those days are long gone and Frank wishes there were a way he could go back and not only assist the club in winning, but also help him stop his arch nemesis, dodgy rhyming couplet speaking property developer – is there any other kind? – Penny Flats (Laura Coutts) and corrupt ref/awful singer Clive Urinal/Renato (Charles Timson). As if this wasn’t enough, Frank also has a dream not connected with football. He wants to be an 18th Century highwayman, on the run from the law and finding peace and sanctuary in the generously proportioned body of a local inn-keeper such as Nell Cleavidge (Rebecca Travers). Can a determined man with a fanatical love for his team, awful trainers and the magical properties of a copy of the old club magazine ‘Naughty Sport’ help?
The journey that Frank and his family undertake is just amazing. Helped along with classic tracks from the 1980s – you may have to stop yourself singing along – and wonderful references to television and films of the time, this production is a roller-coaster of fun and anarchic frolics. Rather like that stalwart of my Saturday mornings in the early 80s, TISWAS, the show goes at a madcap pace with some of the worst ‘dad’ jokes and puns I’ve ever heard – Wayne Gumble may have a job on the side writing Christmas cracker jokes.
It must really difficult to put on a show like this. There has to be a temptation to keep adding elements until suddenly the show has run away and become a parody of itself, but Director Ella Marchment has managed to navigate this stream successfully. “Stand and Deliver” is mad enough that the audience sit back and join in with its twists and tales but at no time takes itself too seriously. The script really helps with marvellous nods back to the innuendo and fun of the early ‘Carry On’ films as does the delivery by a highly energetic cast clearly loving every minute on the stage. There are some wonderful touches in the show. I loved the ‘living’ furniture, especially the television in the Fenton’s house switching from ‘Match of the Day’ to ‘Carry on Camping’ at the flick of a button. Musical Director (Daniel Turek) is a dab hand at the ivories and provided a wonderful accompaniment to the really excellent singing voices of the cast (Renato excluded of course ‘Save Your Love’ should never, ever, ever, ever be heard again) and the choreography by Alfred Taylor-Gaunt made great use of the cast’s abilities to fill the relatively small stage area.
So, all in all, a really wonderful evening’s entertainment in which it was so easy to ‘Relax’, realise ‘Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now’, from entering a ‘Mad World’ where if you are wondering ‘Should I Stay or Should I Go’ the answer is, you should definitely stay and watch something truly ‘Atomic’
Review by Terry Eastham
Stand and Deliver at King’s Head Theatre
22 Feb, 1 Mar, 8 Mar, 15 Mar
Join Frank Goldenboy and his two children, Paris and Antwerp, in a time-travelling romp back to 1731. Re-live the 1980s through references to kids’ television, experience echoes of classic Carry On movies and sing along to a melee of chart hits from back in the day as Frank attempts to follow his dream of becoming a highwayman.
Commentators Ulrika Pearce and Mmbop Hansen guide you through Frank’s unlikely journey where he meets 80s pop sensation, Renato; his former soccer hero, Boscombe Chart; Nell Cleavidge, the queen of innuendo; and Penny Flats, the evil property developer.
CAST AND CREW:
Producer: Wayne Gumble
Director: Ella Marchment
Asst Director: Siobhan Burke
Choreographer: Alfred Taylor-Gaunt
Musical Director: Daniel Turek
Frank Goldenboy: Alex Murphy
Paris Goldenboy: Robyn Howe
Antwerp Goldenboy: Rob Peacock
Ulrika Pearce: Sara Lynam
Mmbop Hansen: Joey Bartram
Renato: Charles Timson
Penny Flats: Laura Coutts
Nell Cleavidge: Rebecca Travers
Boscombe Chart: Adam Scott Pringle
Mrs Fenton: Caroline Kennedy
Monday 16th February 2015