Good Luck, Studio review – the toddler TV show gone wrong | Theater
Jhe plays which goes wrong Mischief Theater brought their hard-fisted am-dram parodies to the West End, to Broadway and to TV; these shows reward repeat viewing but, unfortunately, their latest calamity comedy doesn’t quite go down well.
A promising setup juxtaposes the colorful world of children’s entertainment with the messy lives of entertainers. We are the audience of a TV recording of Wibble the Dragon, set in the fruity and fantastical kingdom of Princess Pineapple and King Lemonhead. Inside his winged suit, Toby (Chris Leask) is in sweat-soaked despair; co-star Elizabeth (Jemma Geanaus) worries about her Call the Midwife audition; The socially awkward screenwriter of Wibble (Harry Kershaw) admires her from afar; and the yellow-stockinged Shakespearian warhorse Anthony (Adam Byron) thunders through his scenes “like Gandalf jerking off in a cave” (one of the finest lines).
But the first scenes drag on. Neither Wibble’s rhyming dialogue nor the actors’ spats match the zing of Sara Perks’ citrus-inspired set. The show is darker than previous Mischief comedies: Tom Walker’s character is often just caustic rather than comedic, and while there’s nothing wrong with rooting the farce in genuine distress, the reasons for a surprise visitor (Gareth Tempest) stem from a deep personal tragedy that shakes . The precarious careers of the actors, already mentioned, would also provide a driving force for the plot. You can see a more successful family version in the play.
Henry Shields and Henry Lewis, both wickedly funny in previous Mischief series, make their solo writer and director debuts, respectively. In the carefully structured script, the first studio scene is re-enacted from the perspective of the gallery team. A similar approach is used in the second half, though the reveals often crystallize plot points rather than enhance the humor. The characters of Bryony Corrigan and Greg Tannahill embody the doomed showmanship of Mischief, the latter with a bit of pantsless clowning that finally delivers the wacky physical comedy you’ve come to expect.
The Wibble company’s commitment to continue could be strengthened if the TV show was broadcast live, and you wonder why 300 toddlers would be at a shoot after 8 p.m. When Toby mixes up his consonants in an X-rated version of the “sick ducks” line, it’s supposed to be horribly inappropriate, but others freely eff and blind in front of kids anyway. Still, no complaints about Wibble’s design – Perks’ fairytale costumes are a delight, especially this pear-shaped shabby dragon costume with its forlornly swinging tail.