Saturday, 21 April 2018

Review: No Strings Attached

HALF a century on from their glory days, Andy Pandy and friends are reunited in Julian Rimmer’s original comedy, which

HALF a century on from their glory days, Andy Pandy and friends are reunited in Julian Rimmer’s original comedy, which attempts to explore the ups and downs of friendship.

Their strings “loved off” by a generation of adoring viewers, but still dressed in their familiar costumes, the show’s characters are now washed-up “real” actors. Desperate to indulge a heavy-drinking Looby Loo’s desire to return to the big time, Andy Pandy gets the old gang back together with a view to launching a comeback on digital television. The pair are joined by a bizarrely re-imagined Teddy, now a fraudulent stockbroker, and an easily confused Auntie.

Despite no longer being puppets, it becomes quickly apparent that the characters lack the emotion and believability needed to make supposedly poignant scenes interesting, let alone touching.

Philosophical wonderings, including “Who is our God and what is his plan?” together with Looby Loo’s sadness at her lack of family or purpose feel either out of place or clumsily handled.

While several renditions of the original theme tune and many tongue-in-cheek references to fellow Watch With Mother characters are enough to invoke a spot of nostalgia, the play quickly loses its way and fails to sustain an hour.

Even though a committed cast are clearly trying their hardest, any audience laughs are awkward and almost accidental, unaided by the constant (unnecessary) bad language and a number of ill-timed jokes. Both became increasingly distracting and annoying.

Miscast as a comedy, this play provides a startling shortage of humorous moments, compounded by an abrupt and unforgivably bleak ending. Sadly, an interesting premise is let down by a script and production as wooden as its characters in their heyday.

Looby Loo — No Strings Attached

Kenton Theatre

Saturday, June 1

Dave Lamont

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