Dead Funny, Vaudeville Theatre, 2016/7

1-dead-funny

24 years on is a difficult time at which to attempt the revival of a play. It’s long enough ago for the jokes and attitudes to appear dated and out of touch, yet not distant enough for us to see the play as an interesting period piece, or for us to indulge the mores of a different society.

This show has a great cast and they perform very well. The play itself has not aged well. The storyline and many of the lines feel old, the characters are not developed. The female roles in particular are one dimensional stereotypes – the hysterical woman desperate for a baby and the flirtatious, glamorous eye candy. There is an inherent sexism throughout the play that is uncomfortable to sit through now.

The male characters are caricatures too and we have come to expect more subtlety from the dialogue. The parts of the play that set out to shock us are no longer outrageous, the tasteless joke was neither shocking nor funny and the nudity was superfluous.

The acting was of a very high standard though, you could tell that Steve Pemberton loved the play and Ralf Little and Katherine Parkinson were a joy to watch.

It is very possible that in another 25 years this play will be an antique heirloom but currently, it is just out dated and out of fashion.

 

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