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Edinburgh Fringe 2016

Escape from the Planet of the Day That Time Forgot

Company Gavin Robertson

Genre: Comedy, Devised, Theatre

Venue: Assembly


Low Down

The Professor takes his eager ward and her friend to outer space – it’s a no frills, lots of laughs filled ride of cliché characters that transform their home and themselves for the Sci-Fi adventure.


This is an original devised show based on cliché characters that get caught up in a sci-fi adventure. A rollicking good time is had by all – not only by the audience but also the actors onstage, who seem to thoroughly enjoy playing their characters and sharing this story!

A jovial professor (played by Gavin Robertson) has the brilliant idea to go to space seeking a planet, taking Helen (played by Katharine Hurst), his eager ward and Alan (played by Simon Nader), her friend who always wears a cloth cap. There’s a definite hierarchy in the group and everyone knows their place. The story unfolds on a stage with several stacked cardboard boxes and a few carefully chosen props, such as an ironing board. This low-tech design sets the tone for the no frills, lots of laughs show. For the ordinary ironing board is quickly enlisted to become the rocket and it is the utter belief of the actors that they pull this off. In fact, the vivid imagination of the trio and their strong performances are so amusing that the audience is quickly swept up by the absurdity, too.

The three excellent actors play stereotypes of characters from years gone by – when women mainly exist to do housework – but there are several witty twists along the way, which make this an interesting peek at the past and a tiny bit into the future. Pacing is fast and the lines of dialogue are punched with emphasis that brings out the comedy and rhythm of the piece. Exaggerated physicality and facial gestures add to the broad acting style that is very engaging and entertaining. The playfulness of the trio as they journey into the depths of beyond is infectious. Expect the unexpected in this journey.

This rocket adventure takes the brave pioneers far away, all around and back again. It’s part bonkers, part tongue in cheek and never dull. On the surface, it’s a simple story but it is the way that the ensemble uses the space, interjects clever short bursts of physical comedy and delivers asides with relish that make this show so successful. While we will learn a little about space from this adventure, it may encourage us to reflect on some of the social themes in the play – that’s always a good thing – and above all we will be thoroughly entertained.

The actors produce this brisk style of comedy really well, but it is the surprises in the script and how they break through the initial performance style into wilder moments that hold the audience to the end. They make crazy transformations into wondrous beasts and more. In total it’s a delirious romp through a few decades of humanity and space travel that will uplift everyone.