Gin and Tonic Productions’ third theatrical venture, the devised play Bob, is a wilfully silly and yet unpretentious take on Shakespearean drama with some fabulous performances from a talented and versatile young cast. The premise is that Epiphany Wellington Smyth, played by George Prove, has found the script of this lost play Bob, which Shakespeare apparently wrote, and is putting on a production of it for us today. Cue mockery of everything from Shakespearean monologues to RADA actors, a plotline which quite heavily revolves around IKEA furniture, and a pair of hilarious killer nuns, all centring around the hapless Lord Bob and his power hungry wife Lady Bob’s rise and tragic fall.
While a familiarity with Shakespeare helps to understand some of what Bob pokes fun at, it’s not at all necessary to enjoy the frankly farcical and well-delivered play for its own merits. There are some stellar performances from the cast, who all clearly relish the over-the-top roles they embody. Esmee Cook’s performance as Lady Bob and news anchor Betty Rope is outstanding and Ben Horner deserves an extra round of applause for his performances as Siegfried and Siegmund while sporting a broken arm. The cast clearly gel together on stage and the fact all the characters were devised by the cast lends Bob an extra layer of authenticity. There is also excellent use of music and lighting to bring the play to life in a space that sometimes seemed too small to hold this larger than life production.
While the play is sometimes so over the top it’s exhausting, and the layout of the space means that some audience members will simply not be able to catch everything that is being done or said, Bob is a gem of a show and well worth a look this Fringe.
Image courtesy of BOB