Review: Funny Peculiar

Everything has its place and time: sometimes you want thought-provoking drama, evocative romance or weep-enducing tragedy. And sometimes you want a laugh.

Funny Peculiar is firmly aimed at the latter. An unashamed revival of Mike Stott's seventies sex comedy, this is the tale of a small town shopkeeper who dreams of free love.

With a cast of soap opera stars led by Coronation Street's Craig Gazey and ex-Hear'Say singer Suzanne Shaw, the crowd at Norwich's Theatre Royal were kept entertained with a flowing tide of uncomplicated gags.

Gazey gave a great line in physical comedy as the vexed grocer, in a loving but uneventful marriage with Shaw; tempted by Hollyoak's Gemma Bissix (and her variable accent) to explore his wild side - including showing it (literally and repeatedly) to the audience.

Steven Blakeley (Heartbeat) put in a nice turn as the backward but sometimes insightful village idiot, with Vicky Entwistle as his overbearing and ever-gossiping mother.

Fans of cutting edge comedy should look elsewhere: this is straightforward stuff, including a smartly-executed slapstick food fight between Gazey and his over-passionate confectionary supplier (Simon Naylor).

The jokes haven't been updated from the seventies and the sensibilities sometimes feel a little out of place, but that's exactly what is promised on the tin.

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Funny Peculiar continues at the Norwich Theatre Royal until Saturday, with performances nightly at 7.30pm and 2.30pm matinees on Wednesday and Saturday.

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