Brighton Fringe 2023
Different acts – different costumes – different dimensions!
THE WRöNG PLANET..!? is an overload of the senses, not taking itself too seriously – An imprint of improvised comedy and over the top slapstick humour. A good hour of entertainment, as the two hosts (The Wrong Numba and Lady of the Manar) begin to travel into another Universe only to discover different forms of life on this ‘unknown’ planet. What evolves is an hour of light-hearted variety performances, interspersed with our hosts trying to make out – “What an earth is going on?” – whilst drinking a cocktail or two in the smallest paddling pool imaginable! Is it safe? We will find out!
Picture the scene – a cross between Absolutely Fabulous (Edina and Patsy) and the final scene from Robert Zemeckis’ Death Becomes Her (Madeline and Helen) . . . there you will find our two hosts (Zoë Padley and Poppy Kay) ‘preparing us’ to board the flight to this unknown destination, as planet earth has become a little overwhelming! Warming their audience up into a relaxed boarding of this unknown aircraft, both ladies are kooky and engaging – building this idea of grandeur, only to sit on two plastic chairs – great move! This start to the cabaret extravaganza allowed lots of moments for us the audience to interact with the performers – whilst absorbing and appreciating all the intricate and bizarre details of their psychedelic, multi-layered costumes presented before us! So ridiculous and yet so unapologetically 80s – anything but the kitchen sink was thrown at these outfits, which I truly feel added to the utter ridiculousness and flamboyancy of the show.
Once we boarded the spacecraft, the journey is supported by animations by Mark Aspin, who creates a convulsion of random people, animals and objects floating around the screen for us to enjoy and revel in – The animated Boris Johnson was hilarious and set the tone for the entertainment ahead. Whether it was floating faeces surrounding his head or sausages – I guess I will never know, nevertheless the projections and animations was a welcomed aspect of this production.
As our hosts (The Wrong Numba and Lady of the Manar) seek to find some safety in their unknown surroundings, we’re greeted by the planets’ inhabitants – a variety show of different degrees of entertainment. Stealing the show was the unintentionally hilarious ‘Jeremy Segway’ performed by Rob Duncan who arrived on to the stage to a Kraftwerk classic and over-sized belly, balancing on a Segway with a broom for his imagined grip – This went on for what felt like an eternity, but for some reason his deadpan facial expressions just kept the laughs coming, what was also amusing was when he would fall off of the platform unintentionally. The audience continued to chant his name, even when not present – the sign of wanting more!
Ella the Great performed by Ella Golt also got the audience in hysterics, as she stepped onto the stage with her mini case and a black piece of fabric with one modest hole in it. Golt performed simple yet effective moments of old skool slapstick humour – now you see me, now you don’t – now my thumb has been removed and moments later. . . what do you know – it’s back again! I loved the simplicity of her act, bringing out the old child in me. This type of comedy appeals to all ages – showing that traditional methods of comedy never run dry!
The concept of ‘THE WRöNG PLANET..!? is a marvelous idea concocted by Padley – So much material to play with here, at points lacking direction, with wavering audience momentum in places – I guess is the format trying to be a cabaret or a cohesive show – where our two hosts interact more so with their special guests on this post-apocalyptic planet? Or is the set up more a piece of long-form improvisation? The production I feel is still in early stages, however the ingredients are all there to make an incredible show. For light-hearted entertainment and silly old-skool Laurel and Hardie humour – this is the show to see. Padley’s vision to direct a psychedelic cabaret certainly struck the desired effect in places – I’m sure ‘the chosen one’ in the audience enjoyed her moment of embracing being wrapped up in tin foil, with a beautiful silver headpiece to match – this I thought was a stroke of genius!
Brilliant costumes and bonkers ideas – great entertainment for ludicrous laughter and theatre of the absurd. I look forward to seeing how this show evolves.