Tag Archives: Rufus Hound

It's Headed Straight Towards Us

It’s Headed Straight Towards Us


Park Theatre



It's Headed Straight Towards Us

“Hound and West are outstanding”

Imagine your greatest enemy. Now, imagine being trapped in an actor’s trailer with them. That’s on a moving glacier. That’s on the side of the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull. That’s erupting.

‘Disaster comedy’ It’s Headed Straight Towards Us – written by Adrian Edmondson and Nigel Planer and directed by Rachel Kavanaugh – presents just this scenario. Gary Savage (Rufus Hound) and Hugh Delavois (Samuel West) are bitter rivals. From drama school through to their acting careers, the pair have always clashed; the former, a drunken, grouchy Hollywood wash-up; the latter, a neurotic, bit part actor nicknamed ‘Custard Man’ after an unfortunate incident in front of Alan Bennett which went viral online. To their horror, they are both set to star in the film Vulcan 7, before an avalanche halts filming and separates them from the rest of the cast and crew.

Trapped with 21-year-old runner and self-proclaimed seismologist Leela (Nenda Neururer), they are forced to confront their historic animosity as their situation becomes more and more perilous.

Hound and West are outstanding. Their constant bickering is utterly believable whilst also being brilliantly funny. Their quips and jabs at each other range from silly to deeply cruel and you never know what will come out next. Digs are made at sexual promiscuity, failed fatherhood, embarrassing career moments, just to name a few. The only thing of which they are in agreement is a hatred of Daniel Day Lewis.

We get to know our two leads intimately. Their deepest anxieties, greatest regrets, and dwindling hopes for the future. Though both completely unlikeable at first, we feel real pathos for our sparring (failing) actors, especially in the second half and the final scenes. Props also to Hound who spends the first hour in a heavy latex costume designed by Wendy Olver.

“our great attachment to Gary and Hugh is in no small part to the strong acting and clever script”

Neururer does well to balance the warring duo with her youthful eagerness and naivety. Her character is also the only one linked to activities outside the trailer via her headset and thus provides significant exposition and forward motion in the plot. The only slightly confusing element of the narrative is that it takes place in less than 24 hours – these two characters who so vehemently hate each other are very quick to get vulnerable. However, considering the unique space of the actor’s trailer, the claustrophobia of their situation, and some rather wonderful acting, this rapid opening up seems perfectly natural.

The set (designed by Michael Taylor) is really quite brilliant. We see the inside of a large trailer – there is a table with seating to the left, a sofa and pouffe in the centre, and a small bathroom on the right. All this sits atop a moving floor that rocks, jitters, and tilts as the tremors worsen. The trailer door leads to the back of the stage – there is no back wall, so any approaching character is seen. Snow – in the form of small pieces of white paper – falls along the front edge of the stage in a few scenes creating a pleasant effect.

The set is further enhanced by the impressive lighting designed by Mark Doubleday. Behind the stage is a large screen that reaches from floor to ceiling. The calming hues of the first half are soon replaced with angry reds – the mood of the natural world and the desperation of our characters expressed perfectly. Eerie sounds that evoke a certain natural mysticism play between scenes to further remind us of the power of the volcanic mound (Fergus O’Hare).

It’s Headed Straight Towards Us is an intimate exploration of hate and regret. Our two characters are inextricably linked whether they like it or not and they find a strange comfort in their familiarity with each other. Moreover, our great attachment to Gary and Hugh is in no small part to the strong acting and clever script. A play thoroughly worth seeing.


Reviewed on 19th September 2023

by Flora Doble

Photography by Pamela Raith


Previously reviewed at this venue:

Sorry We Didn’t Die At Sea | ★★½ | September 2023
The Garden Of Words | ★★★ | August 2023
Bones | ★★★★ | July 2023
Paper Cut | ★★½ | June 2023
Leaves of Glass | ★★★★ | May 2023
The Beach House | ★★★ | February 2023
Winner’s Curse | ★★★★ | February 2023
The Elephant Song | ★★★★ | January 2023
Rumpelstiltskin | ★★★★★ | December 2022
Wickies | ★★★ | December 2022

It’s Headed Straight Towards Us

It’s Headed Straight Towards Us

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The Good Life


Cambridge Arts Theatre

The Good Life

Cambridge Arts Theatre | UK Tour

Reviewed – 9th November 2021



“the sit-com format over two hours disappoints”


For anyone not in the know, The Good Life (by John Esmonde and Bob Larbey) was one of BBC TV’s most successful situation comedy programmes airing between 1975 and 1978 which elevated its four main actors to near national treasure status. How then are we to judge this new stage version (adapted and directed by Jeremy Sams), taking the characters as they are without censuring them for not being the faces and voices that we so loved? Well, needs must.

The curtain rises on the morning of Tom Good’s (Rufus Hound) fortieth birthday and his feeling that life is not all it could be. By the end of the day he has quit his job designing cereal box plastic toys and embarked on a mission with wife Barbara (Sally Tatum) to become self-sufficient, turning their suburban house and garden into a freeholding along with chickens, pigs and a marauding goat called Stephanie (a deliberately humorous animatronic puppet). Next door live their friends, haughty and houseproud Margo (Preeya Kalidas) and Tom’s now ex-boss Jerry Leadbetter (Dominic Rowan).

Sams explains in his programme note of the contemporary resonances there are to be heard in this story but the overwhelming feeling is of a period piece. The characters are not much developed beyond what we know already, the biggest laughs come from references to chicken Kiev and black forest gateau, and despite some additional storyline from Sams – including one scene involving the smoking of pot which is unlikely to have made it onto 1970s TV – the key episodes follow events from the TV series.

An ingenious set design (Michael Taylor) incorporates two revolving flats that rotate to reveal either the Good’s kitchen or the Leadbetter’s living room. 1970s furniture – sideboard, hostess trolley, electronic organ, serving hatch – provide the period feel. (A banner in the final scene places us specifically in 1977).

Four loosely-linked scenes ensue of the ups-and-downs of the Good’s new life, and how it affects their relationship with the Leadbetters but the sit-com format over two hours disappoints. When the main joke of one scene is that ‘the Pigman has nobbled the cake’ and the drama reaches its climax with an inebriated tango and a conga around the living room, it all feels just a little lame. An attempt for greater poignancy with a story involving Barbara’s attempts to save the life of a new-born piglet is too long and clumsily staged.

The energy of the ensemble cannot be faulted. There is some excellent quickfire repartee between Tom and Barbara, and Rufus Hound seems most comfortable in his role, but what is missing is any sparkle between the couple. We should see their shared enjoyment when they tease Margo – who does not understand why something is amusing – and the occasional innuendo should seem naughty but falls flat. Next door, Preeya Kalidas does her snooty best as Margo but we only see one side of her character and her propriety always slows the pace. Dominic Rowan does a fine job as Jerry placating his wife and toadying to his boss. Surprisingly, the star turn of the evening comes from Nigel Betts whose four cameo roles with different costumes, hair, and accents are much enjoyed.

There are laughs aplenty to be had in this amiable entertainment which evokes memories of comfy afternoons in front of the telly, a glass of Liebfraumilch in the hand, but, as Tom says right at the start, “is that it?”



Reviewed by Phillip Money

Photography by Dan Tsantilis


The Good Life

Cambridge Arts Theatre until 13th November then UK Tour continues


Previously reviewed at this venue:
Copenhagen | ★★★★ | July 2021
Absurd Person Singular | ★★★ | September 2021
Tell me on a Sunday | ★★★ | September 2021
Dial M For Murder | ★★★ | October 2021


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