Edinburgh Fringe 2014
Superfans Jamie (same name as one of the best companions)and Jess (looks a lot like the great and the Osgood) set about putting on a musical to celebrate being out of their box with a Lord of Time. That’s if BBC copyright law doesn’t get them deleted first…
This show zips by with gags that are both clever-clever and supremely silly. Jess is an earthly child who just wants to find a mad man in a box to run away with and have time/space adventures with. It becomes very unclear very quickly if this refers to Jess putting on the musical, or Jess the character in the musical. This is, of course, exactly the point. Jamie, on the other hand, simply wants to play The Doctor himself. And The Master. And everyone else inbetween. Again, this is exactly the point.
While there are a few Pertwee-era gags to keep the older fans happy, this show sticks mainly to the straight and narrow (or rather, twisty turny timey wimey) of the rebooted post 2005 series. This way, audience members whose interest is limited mainly to Tennant’s hair would find themselves (sorry) alienated. The jokes are strong (particularly a very good one relating to an upcoming plot point on Steven Moffat’s other great BBC show), while Jessica Spray and James Wilson-Taylor are very engaging personalities. Splendid chaps, both of them.
There’s obviously the risk young Whoivians in the audience might be disappointed by the lack of genuinely copyright-enabled heroes and monsters in the show, but the kids at this performance were enthralled throughout. A lot of this has to do with the songs – full of clever word play and wit, while managing to be genuinely inventive with style and form: a highlight is The Master’s masterful choice of musical style.
It’s true that non-fans are unlikely to be in attendance, but on the other hand (you could even say Conversely), this is as much a riff on musical – and fringe – theatre. As with all the best satire, it’s the genuine love for the subject that joyously carries us all through. It’s a fun, fizzy show, and everyone leaves feeling bigger on the inside.