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Thursday, July 5, 2012
With the county still alight with Olympic flame fever, what could be more fitting than a ‘lost’ Aristophanes comedy to round off the festivities?
That was the rather loosely imagined premise of The Games, a ribald and slapstick play brought to Norwich Playhouse by Spike Theatre.
The tale revolves around the fates of Darius (Liam Tobin), Stanzas (Mark Keemar Smith) and Hermpahrodite (Keddy Sutton) - all plucked from obscurity by the gods to take part in the Olympics and prove their sponsors theories about the nature of humanity. Mostly while naked.
There is a slightly political subtext with Hermaphrodite barred from taking part in the games because of her gender but this is far from a serious production. Prosthetic penises are the order of the day, together with a sea of puns, slapstick physical theatre, shadow puppetry and no small number of songs.
The humour is bawdy, base and low - and nothing wrong with that - but at times it is also a little self-indulgent. This is a shortish show - around 75 minutes straight - but even then some scenes did drag a little.
Performances were enthusiastic rather than polished, and to that extent perhaps a true reflection of the original spirit of the games.
As the gates to the Royal Hospital Gardens at Chelsea opened to the world’s media yesterday, with a frenzy of activity as photographers and camera crews vied for the best vantage points, there was also a very palpable sense of relief among the hundreds of nurserymen and women who have come to exhibit their prize horticultural specimens that their stands were complete and looking their very best.