Death Ship 666** Jermyn Street Theatre, 27 November 2013)

Posted: November 28, 2013 in Theatre

This review was originally written for The Public Reviews: http://www.thepublicreviews.com

Welcome aboard for the maiden voyage of the state of the art ocean liner Death Ship 666 as it sets sail for the Bermuda Triangle! Maybe James Horner’s theme from Titanic is not the most reassuring background music as we set sail, but not to worry, this ship has exterior radiators to melt any threatening icebergs. We have had Titanic the movies(s), the television series, the musical, so now the pantomime? Well not quite, but only because there is no dame. We are treated to a non- stop bombardment of verbal and visual gags, a pastiche of James Cameron’s film, with touches also of The Poseidon Adventure. The passengers and crew are all played by Michael Patrick Clarkson, Carrie Marx, Anna Morris, Mattias Penman, Rachel Parris and Andrew Utley. They raise the art of quick costume changes to a new level. This is an evening of undiluted silliness, the style of which seems to be to deliver the jokes so rapidly one after the other that the audience will not have time to reflect on how dreadful most of them are. The show has no foothold in the real world, no depth and no subtlety, making it difficult for it to sustain its appeal over a long period and, inevitably, it outstays its welcome long before the end of its 75 minutes running time, 25% longer than when it ran in Edinburgh. It does not benefit from being stretched out or, more likely, padded. The show’s main assets are its six performers, who demonstrate a youthful zest and enthusiasm that is infectious. It is impossible not to like them even at points when their material is sagging. They even treat us to a song. As the water levels are rising around them, they sing Ten Minutes More to the melody of One Day More from Les Miserables. Another plus is that the show is almost completely free of smut, making it suitable for all ages. Much of Death Ship 666 has the feel of a student revue and, judged as such, it would probably rate quite well. Whether it cuts it as a professional production for this venue must be questionable, but it is harmless fun anyway.

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