sun 19/05/2024

Crybabies, Soho Theatre review - sharp sci-fi spoof | reviews, news & interviews

Crybabies, Soho Theatre review - sharp sci-fi spoof

Crybabies, Soho Theatre review - sharp sci-fi spoof

Sketch trio in a good-hearted caper

From left: Ed Jones, Michael Clarke and James Gault

Crybabies – a sketch group comprised of Michael Clarke, James Gault and Ed Jones – were nominated for best newcomer for Danger Parade, a brilliant parody of Second World War adventure stories, at the 2019 Edinburgh Comedy Awards.

Their second show, Bagbeard, was another critical success at last year's Fringe and is now having its second run at the Soho Theatre. It's a lot of fun.

“This is a story of hope, love – and monsters,” says Jones at the top of the show. Like his compadres he plays several roles, necessitating super-quick costume changes behind the on-stage cloth. Bagbeard is a sci-fi adventure, a spoof that subtly references any number of TV shows and films but which works within the terms of its own – admittedly bonkers – narrative.

The story concerns Chris Mystery (Clarke), a science teacher desperate for recognition and membership of the Institute of Brilliant Scientists. He's mocked by all, including his pupils and headteacher but then, when he realises something's afoot in nearby woods, he sees his chance of glory.

What he has found is an extraterrestrial in the form of Bagbeard (Gault) who really does have a plastic bag for a beard. He was sent to Earth from a doomed planet, as his parents thought he would fit right in “in a place where there are more plastic bags than fish”.

As Mystery tries to keep Bagbeard safe from interfering villagers  who are staging a pagan festival and the local mayor who has a grisly secret, along comes hardbitten investigator Victor Valentine (Jones), who has been tasked with the mission of finding the alien lifeform. 

The 70 minute caper goes at a tremendous pace and contains gags galore, multiple characters, puns and wordplay, visual jokes and a lot of silliness. Oh and deliberately shoddy props (including one they said was an owl but could be something they found down the back of the sofa). There is real commitment to storytelling, lots of narrative twists and theatrical aplomb – and it adds up to a whole lot of fun.

Bagbeard really does have a plastic bag for a beard


Editor Rating: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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