Review by: Paul Towers, 16 December 2016
Gilbert (no Sullivan) by WS Gilbert adapted by Brian Mitchell & Joseph Nixon
The Foundry Group – David Mountfield & Brian Mitchell
Upstairs @ The Western, 16 & 17 December 2016
“Victorian comic stories”
It is entirely appropriate that my last review for this year and under the old guard at Upstairs at The Western should be for the renowned and very popular Foundry Group. In what has become an annual treat for playgoers at The Western we have had our taste buds tickled by uproarious tales of wrestlers, Henry VIII, magnificent flyers and now dear old Sir William Schwenck Gilbert, the lyricist half of Gilbert and Sullivan.
I for one didn’t realise that, prior to his musical collaborations with Mr Sullivan, Gilbert was a prodigious writer of tall tales, comic rants and parodic reviews as a means of making ends meet.
The Foundry Group have maintained their high standard by collating five of his more outrageous tales from the latter half of the 19th century and adapted them for two actors. These Victorian comic stories were published in the magazines of the day and proved very popular, especially when accompanied by Gilbert’s own illustrations.
In David Mountfield and Brian Mitchell this production has two very able character actors who are very at home with a variety of accents and quick costume changes. Watching these sketches one can clearly see where modern performers like Tommy Cooper, Tony Hancock and Benny Hill got their inspiration from. Accompanied by hilariously bad ‘special effects’ and more awful props than a Play School toy box this is an hilarious evening of fun that you can take even your maiden aunt to.
There are still a few tickets available for Saturday night’s performance and I would urge you to grab one if you can.
Tickets for Saturday at www.upstairsatthewestern.com
Full details of future dates are at www.foundrygroup.co.uk