Edinburgh Fringe 2013
ReviewWill Guppy and Marina Waters are fantastic in this fun-filled musical about a musical about a film about some snakes… On a plane. Quite Nice Theatre have put together a pitch for potential funder/producers (the audience are transformed into muckity-mucks by Artistic Director, and hilarious supporting performer Thom Sellwood) in a bid to turn their dream (a musical based on Snakes on a Plane) into reality… They only need fifty million pounds from us (they’ll take as little as two million per investor). This is silly, snaky, campy musical theatre that’s perfect for the late time-slot it fills (22:20). A low-pressure, mildly interactive piece in which the two performers hop, skip, and twirl around the stage while Director Sellwood fills in the bits we’re missing out on (the final cast will be thirty-eight strong).
If you’re looking for reflective theatre that challenges its audience and pushes boundaries, Snakes! isn’t what you’re after, but if you want laughs, impressive performances (Guppy and Marina flop back and fourth from lead to supporting role, from protagonist to evil super-villain with surprising alacrity, their performances sprinkled liberally with hair tosses and jazz hands), this play’s the thing. With music by Mark Andrewes & Julian Ng and choreography by Rowan Ilsley, the duo manage to play a cast of thirty-eight all on their own. Although a number of the songs are somewhat unimpressive lyrically and/or compositionally, the singing is delightful, and there are one or two catchy numbers in amongst the flotsam. The sell-out house was buzzing with people humming the show-stopper, ‘All-Time High!’ after the show.
The piece is performed without any props, special lighting, specific costumes, or snakes, but it’s fun and enthusiastically performed, and Sellwood’s frequent interruptions do a remarkable job of filling in the blanks. There are twists and turns; romance and dastardly plots, and the show has a thrilling climax that ties all the elements together, brings back in the reprise, and gets us all clapping and humming along. Despite a certain ragtag, shoestring-and-bubblegum aesthetic (or perhaps because of it) Snakes! manages to pull it all off, delivering an entertaining bit of musical theatre that gets us all on side, takes us on a journey, and lets us all off safely on the other end.