Camden Fringe 2008
Cannibal! The Musical – In Concert
The Rival Theatre Company
Venue: Etcetera Theatre, Camden
Adapted from Trey Parker’s (creator of South Park and Team America) 1996 cult film of the same name Cannibal! The Musical makes its UK Premiere at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe prior to hitting the West End. The Rival Theatre Company presented Cannibal! The Musical – In Concert at Camden Fringe Festival, which sampled some of the best bits of the full length musical, an embellished version of the real life tale of Alferd ‘Alfred Packer’, the only American ever to be convicted of cannibalism.
Adapted from the creator of South Park and Team America, Trey Parker’s 1996 cult film of the same name Cannibal! The Musical makes its UK Premiere at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe prior to hitting the West End. Prior to the Festival in Edinburgh, The Rival Theatre Company presented Cannibal! The Musical – In Concert at Camden Fringe Festival, which sampled some of the best bits of the full length musical, an embellished version of the real life tale of Alferd ‘Alfred Packer’, the only American ever to be convicted of cannibalism.
In 1873 Packer is sought to lead a bunch of hopeless miners over the Colorado Mountains in search of gold after their original leader dies prior to their departure. Packer ends up the sole survivor of the doomed trip and is accused of cannibalism after he finally arrives at the destination alone, and the party of men he travelled with are found dead and half eaten on the mountain. While awaiting execution in his gaol cell he recounts his harrowing story professing his innocence to undercover journalist Polly Pry through which we meet an array of weird and wonderful characters including Trappers, snowmen, American Indians and Liane, Packer’s beloved horse.
With catchy, stick in the head tunes, dirty jokes and no shame, Cannibal the Musical is sharp, hilarious and for any fans of Trey Parker’s more recent work, an absolute must see. Starring James Topping (Blood Brothers, 39 Steps) as Packer and BBC Voice of Musical Theatre winner Aimie Atkinson as Polly Pry the whole cast are a strong, risk taking ensemble, all of whom have a strong commitment to delivering a solid, unusual musical. A touch like South Park this musical with an entertaining and illuminating story line is politically incorrect and perhaps it is a cruder version of Parker’s later work and yet it works. This week parts of the musical were performed on the tiny Etcetera stage at the Camden Fringe prior to its UK premiere in Edinburgh.
An hour taster of Cannibal the Musical, sans most of the props, costumes and sets and it is clear that this production stands up on its own without the added extras. Credit to Frazer Brown (director) as the direction was clearly reconfigured for the smaller space and still packs a punch. Given the quality of what was produced at Camden it is a given that the full production in a 450 seat venue will be all the more impressive. The audience was in fits of laughter over the in the gutter script which doesn’t ever hold back. Touted correctly as the only cannibalistic cowboy musical on the planet Cannibal! The Musical is well worth seeing in Edinburgh as it is likely to be a first class hit with a promising future on the West End.
Playing at George Square One, Venue 37, George Square Edinburgh from 31st July – 24th August.