Peepolykus and Lyric Hammersmith in association with West Yorkshire Playhouse and Warwick Arts Centre
Liverpool Playhouse (17th – 21st March 2009)

Reviewed by Colin Serjent

Two hours of madcap humour by the radical comic theatre company Peepolykus (pronounced people-like-us) led to constant peals of laughter from the Playhouse audience.

Although not as outrageously funny as their performance of The Hound Of The Baskervilles at the same venue last year, it was still a delight to watch.

The plot – for what it’s worth – involves a group of actors rehearsing for the Oscar Wilde classic The Importance Of Being Earnest, who get caught up in a farcical tale of international espionage and double dealings, not to mention a genetically modified baby, Russian oligarchs, let alone Ronnie Corbett!

It would be fair to say that many scenes are Monty Pythonesque in style – i.e. they are very silly – but nevertheless the five actors perform them with a great deal of panache and glee.

There are a multitude of character changes by each of them, including sometimes switching into different costumes while on stage.

There are visual gags and highly creative wordplay peppered throughout the production. Most notable was the Chinese man who spoke like Janet Street Porter, but most memorable was the Russian spy poisoned not by the tip of an umbrella but by flicking through the Daily Mail with his thumb!

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