Brighton Fringe 2012
WWII: Facing invasion, Britain’s answer is Scallywags – ordinary folk trained to conceal weapons, dot dashes and, if captured, drink rum. With their characteristic blend of physical theatre, music and puppetry, SOOP’s comedy-drama asks: what if the occupation actually happened?
Scallywags at the Warren was a treat. I had seen it in the programme and seen the company web site.
I am a big fan of their work and their performance style. I sat down, drink in hand and anticipated what was billed as being “Packed with delightful ideas" by another review. That review was not wrong.
So filled is this show with ideas, it was fresh and exciting. With a stiff upper lip and great comic timing the characters filled the stage.
Opening with a wonderfully harmonised wartime ditty we were taken back to a small post office filled with a strongly performed mix of characters. As I have mentioned in previous reviews I love a good bit of physical theatre- this very slick performance did not disappoint one bit.
The simple set consisted of a large counter. This counter would become a desk, a set of tunnels and a kitchen cupboard and the setting of the post office. Hatches and hinges allowed it to move around, changing for nearly every scene, easily and freely.
Short and sweet motifs covered the changing and setting of a scene with singing and recorded voice overs.
The Characters were like that of a’ Carry On’ film. There was the ‘Toff’, The ‘Poacher’, Billy the ‘Boy’ and the unfortunate ‘Dentist’ all set to become the ‘Scallywags’ a crack commando elite giving the A-Team a run for their money. One knew how to lay snares; one could fit into tight spaces and the others? Well they were doing their bit.
The moments of Physical Theatre, were very impressive, from the delivery, to the noises made. A tipping of the cap to the ‘Umbilical Brothers’ with the noises they made while opening doors and brushing their teeth- to physical storytelling and VERY tight choreography.
One moment which left me awkwardly laughing to myself was while the rifle is being pulled and pushed and passed back from Billy to the poacher. So nervous of it going off and making a loud noise whilst pointed in my direction I subtly covered my eyes!
Scallywags is a real treat. All the performers were equally as talented, voice skills and movement skills allowed for us to go on their mission with them. The actor playing the ‘Dentist’ reminded me of a young Norman Wisdom, I found his character as he could barely form a sentence but made the most sound effects. Maybe this was a deliberate character trait, maybe it was just coincidence. Either way it was ‘bloody brilliant old chap’. I would highly recommend the company and this show to anyone heading to a fringe festival during its UK tour. Check them out, you won’t be disappointed.