Review: Bang Bang!
Written by ExTS Reviewer Alex Parsons
A very exciting evening at the Northcott Theatre yesterday as their original production “Bang Bang” officially opened to a packed house ahead of it’s upcoming UK tour. The new farce, written by John Cleese and directed by the Northcott’s own Daniel Buckroyd, follows the antics of the adulterous Leontine and Duchotel along with the wacky lovers, friends and foes they meet along the way.
Tessa Peake-Jones (Only Fools and Horses) takes what would be considered the lead role in terms of stage time despite the characters serious lack of agency throughout the play as events simply happen to her. It is a relief to see her gain some power when she puts her newfound knowledge of her husband’s secret to good use in Act 2.
Wendi Peters (Coronation Street, BIG: the Musical) is billed as one of the show’s leads and whilst she undoubtedly is the star of the show in terms of her performance, she has a disappointing amount of stage time as her character, the ex-Countess, is only necessary in one of the three scenes that complete the script. I must, however, commend the creative team on making full use of her talents in giving her the only song in the show. Another standout performance comes from, the opinionated maid of the household, Babette, with her infrequent hilarious remarks.
Bang Bang features a fantastic set. The rotating flats and fake walls make for a remarkable scene change between the two scenes in Act 1 with doorways and bookcases appearing where you’d least expect them!
John Cleese’s natural flair for both subtle and over-the-top comedy is undeniable. This even shines through to the poster’s disclaimer that “Mr Cleese does not appear in this production. He wanted to but we wouldn’t let him”. Hilarious one-liners and even “one-word-ers” pop up throughout the script. The show could have benefitted from a little more physical comedy, particularly in the first scene.
Bang Bang is running at the Northcott Theatre until the 15th February. Tickets start at just £16 for the general public. Student tickets are as low as £5 for select performances! We recommend travelling by public transport to make use of the discounted green matinee tickets! https://exeternorthcott.co.uk/calendar/bang-bang/
Production shots by Paul Blakemore