King’s Head Theatre
Opening Night – 13th June 2017
“fleeting moments of entertainment within its daunting 135 minute run-time”
The unholy love-child of Jerry Springer the Opera and Rocky Horror Picture Show, Holy Crap feels like a sequel to a celebrated B-Movie, desperately trying to reach the status of cult classic through an endless tirade of Carry-On sex jokes. In this tiresome ‘comedy’, the Heather Brothers’ work returns to the stage, directed by Benji Sperring at the Kings Head Theatre, the home of some of the best fringe theatre in London. Attempting a farcical indictment of the role of sex and consumerism in modern media, Holy Crap mutilates an interesting concept with a limp meandering narrative and musical numbers that imitate a sexed-up version of lift muzak.
Holy Crap follows the story of a pay-per-view religious channel, run by a motley crew of scheming conmen. As the televised religious fanaticism popular in the states fails to capture the attention of the British public, the frontman of the group, the ‘hallelujah cowboy’ Bobby de la Ray (John Addison) and his team turn G.O.D. TV, run by the very British and genuinely religious Destiny and Rex, into a thinly-veiled hard-core porn channel.
Unfortunately, the cast seemed to be still finding their feet in this performance, for characters that rely on charisma and confidence, generally the performances felt lacklustre and apologetic making the comic moments much less gratifying. However, specific mention must go to Rachel Marwood (Clarissa La Fayette) who’s standout comic performance carried the show through its more trying times.
Though the majority of the songs are generally forgettable patter numbers, inundated with biblical innuendo, vocal performances were excellent and the voices of Rachel Marwood and Letitia Hector are truly stunning to behold, leaving much of the audience slack-jawed. John Addison (Bobby) and Arvid Larsen (Rex) live up to the excellence of their credits with their vocal performances, howevers the characters’ lack of depth leaves them seeming caricatured by a rather unsteady hand.
Sperring’s direction is clear and distinct, taking full advantage of the intimacy of the space, the more interactive sections of the piece were certainly the most enjoyed, but his work is largely undermined by the amateur and derivative feel of the writing.
With Lucie Pankhurst’s cheeky choreography and some glowing moments of witty dialogue, Holy Crap provides fleeting moments of entertainment within its daunting 135 minute run-time, but in its critique of a world that holds ‘style over substance’, the Heather Brothers’ new musical mistakes its own failings for satire.
Reviewed by Tasmine Airey
is at the King’s Head Theatre until 2nd July