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 The Theatreguide.London Review

Arts Theatre     March 2010

This little bauble may ultimately be just a revue sketch stretched to a full hour, but everyone involved keeps the thing afloat, without losing any focus or fun, and I haven't had an hour in which I've laughed as much, in quite a while.

A handful of people are meeting to create a new political party, and perhaps the first clue that something's amiss is that they're in a garden shed because the host's mother won't let them in the house.

It quickly becomes apparent that to call them clueless would be an insult to clueless people everywhere. They can't agree on a name for their party - everyone has a separate favourite - and the only principles they've ironed out are that they approve of democracy, would like a space program and are either for or against China (or both).

Of course, once we discover that they think the shoe bomber is the title of a Richard Gere film and that sex trafficking may have something to do with quickies in car parks, we begin to understand what we're in for.

Writer Tom Basden, director Phillip Breen and the cast make these dimwits thoroughly believable even as they wander ever further into the darkest corners of cluelessness, dropping bricks and ancient gags ('...like the Russian Czar.' -'Are they?') along the way.

The playwright himself, Anna Crilly, Katy Wix and Nick Mohammed are all first rate, but acting honours go to Jonny Sweet as the truly dense self-styled leader, who thinks D is Leonardo Caprio's middle initial ('like Jesus H. Christ'), and especially Tim Key as a newcomer to the group, who at least has the advantage of knowing he doesn't know what's going on (He misunderstood the invitation and thought it was a birthday party).

Key takes blankness to delightful heights, and has a silent and deadpan routine with a pitcher of water that it is not blasphemous to mention in the same sentence as Jacques Tati and Buster Keaton.

Gerald Berkowitz

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Review of Party - Arts Theatre 2010
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