Adventure TimeThursday, 14 January, 2010
Spontaneously enthusiastic – genuinely amusing
London – Tristan Bates Theatre – 4 to 23 Jan 10 – 21:00 (0:30)
Adventure Time is a thirty minute show which is staged like a live radio broadcast. There are three men and four stools. Martin Brady-Small played Michael Grady-Hall wears a cowboy straw hat, red tie and a waistcoat. Jon Grimshaw played by Tom Crawshaw wears a red T shirt and a dark blazer. Jazz L.Carter played by Yaz Al-Shaater looks cute in a red and white striped t-shirt, badge and big glasses. It doesn’t really matter what the cast looks like, because they are on radio. Nice they made an effort though.
One broadcaster is missing, hence the empty fourth stool, this cast have problems. The actress Theresa Compangnie hasn’t shown up for work. They don’t want the non-present DJ – MC Phale to know – he’s in another studio and will hand over to them for a live reading in a couple of minutes – so the team asks for a volunteer. A member of the audience (uncredited/unknown) is asked to read the missing part. Don’t worry, says Martin Brady-Small – he will explain what to do.
As the new Theresa Compangnie takes her seat and starts to read through the script, audience instructions are given. Jon Grimshaw holds up signs: ‘Applause’ ‘Cheer’ ‘Laugh’ and when they are whipped out of sight the reaction must stop. A short rehearsal and everyone involved becomes quite tight with their whoops and clapping. Laughter on demand does not come as easily. However, this is one thing the cast don’t have to force because this is a genuinely amusing show.
Now the radio play begins – so what’s it about? The willing audience member plays Flora, a slave girl on FunnyHaHa island who is trying to escape from an evil steward read by Jon Grimshaw. The details of the plot get lost in the fun of the characters and interruptions for participation or problems on set. There is a Hip-Hob goblin voiced by Jazz L.Carter. There are jokes about elves including Filofax the leader of the elf army who is Elf conscious.
Martin Brady-Small has an impressively realistic sounding west country accent for the character of Miner Problem who reports to Jon Grimshaw’s Major Setback. Martin Brady-Small with or without accents has a great radio voice.
The sound effects by Yaz Al-Shaater range from squeaking doors to Windows shutting down – oh no the laptop has stopped working. Disaster – but Jazz L.Carter manages to save the day.
The cast asks for audience volunteers to be a goblin group called the Fairer Six who will need to play scrabble and read lines. No scrabble is played but the volunteers read their parts with spontaneously enthusiastic interpretations of goblin voices.
Jon Grimshaw as the evil steward is about to do something nasty to Flora and he inhales the air from a balloon. There is not any helium in the balloon so his voice does not become squeaky. However the expectation of such makes this process amusing.
For the dramatic finale, the audience is asked to make sound effects for the sea, a snake, an explosion and monsters. There is time to rehearse during an ad break, then its back ‘on air’.
It may help that the actors are performing with their scripts in front of them, which on this occasion is perfectly allowable, it being a radio broadcast.
A fun show which felt relaxed for everyone involved, whether or not it was truly spontaneous – audience member participation – are they plants? It’s left for the public to decide. If everyone had a good time, does it matter?
Cast Credits: (alpha order): Yaz Al-Shaater – Jazz L.Carter. Tom Crawshaw – Jon Grimshaw. Michael Grady-Hall – Martin Brady-Small. Guest Stars: Theresa Compangnie. The Fairer Six. MC Phale.
Company Credits: Writer – Tom Crawshaw. SFX – Yaz Al-Shaater. Director – Uncredited. Designer – Uncredited. Technical Operator – Uncredited. Producer – Uncredited. Company – Three’s Company. http://www.threescompany.co.uk
(c) Wendy Thomson 2010
reviewed Wednesday, 13 January 2010