Goons

Fri 3rd – Tue 14th August 2018

reviews

Amy Barrett

at 09:15 on 9th Aug 2018

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Did you ever think you would see a stage production with the essence of The Inbetweeners? Me neither. But Double Edge Drama’s ‘Goons’ has brought exactly this to the Underbelly complete with a hilarious script and fantastic actors.

The story follows the lives of Jeb, Henry and Albert who spend their days doing odd jobs, like the mowing the lawn, for the ‘Phil Mitchell-esque’ geezer Darren. But today, their to-do list looks a little different: Darren wants the boys to pull off a heist on an oligarch who's in the historical fiction section of the local bookshop.

The show is does well having no singular protagonist. The combination of a very posh, a very dim and a very nervous boy allowed for a highly comedic performance, with no one person stealing the limelight. Whilst the actors’ success was equal for the most part, I must commend Sam Scrunton, as Jeb, for managing to eat a whole, dry Weetabix on stage – there wasn't one person in the room who wasn’t impressed by Scrunton’s effort!

While the play is very much a stage adaptation of The Inbetweeners, Hughie Shepheard-Cross's script is original. Without too many spoilers, most of the play’s humour I had never come across before; the jokes about writing a story in Chinese and the pickpocketing story were particular highlights.

The actors were very conscious to make sure they could always be seen by the audience, refraining from blocking each other, a clear sign of professionalism. My only criticism is that due to the nature of the venue, there were no raised seats, so when the actors sat down at the kitchen table sometimes I could not see their faces and their hilarious expressions.

‘Goons’ is an easy and extremely enjoyable watch. With perfectly timed humour and actors that bring their stock characters to life. I should’ve known with the virtually sell out audience how good the show was going to be before I even sat down. So, if the show sounds like its up your street, you need to get a ticket now!

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Anna Marshall

at 12:35 on 9th Aug 2018

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In the depths of Bristo Square four young men lurk, recreating a retro feel gangster show akin to Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels - but in the place of three gangsters, there are three gardeners. Or lawnmowers to be more exact.

These boys have got slapstick, they've got witty rapport and well... they're very good at behaving like goons. It's set in a single room in the house of the mysterious Darren who, whatever his occupation, seems to be a bit of a legend: “the kind of guy that doesn't need to go on a run, because he can get other people to do it for him”. At any rate he's got three gardeners so that says it all; clearly.

The three characters of Jeb, Henry and Sam complement each other well, and shine most in the more mundane moments of recognisable ditsy adulthood: epitomised by endlessly running out of milk. It’s a well thought-out casting. Jeb, played by Sam Scruton, excels as the Bristol Uni type awkwardly spluttering his way through life and gullibly retelling his impressions of thug life. Alex Legard adds his dry humour, as well as his comic frustration at the idiocy he is friends with. And Freddie Robarts is an excellent Neil-from-the-inbetweeners type whose slapstick reactions propel the play into comedy. Robarts even impresses with a remarkably rapid ability to multirole: for the first minute, you wonder if it’s going to be just a one man show, and he could probably have managed it.

Adding that thuglife edge however is the menacing Darren, played by Amos Edwards, trampling over the boys' mindless behaviour to manipulate them for his needs. Darren's cockney swagger and grouchy temperament, coupled with his amazement at these posh boys' incompetent natures, really solidifies the genre of Inbetweeners-meets-Pulpfiction. It's a weird one, and feels very British... And very fringe.

The audience laugh, there are some excellent plot twists and ultimately the boys pull off their characters flawlessly. Writer Hughie Shepherd-Cross has dabbled with just the right amount of confusion and disarray to leave us on our tiptoes and not bored: the overall effect wouldn’t go amiss as a BBC 3 sitcom pilot.

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