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Camden Fringe: Pot Noodles & Knickers, Etcetera Theatre

Part of the Camden Fringe 2013
Written and directed by Nick Card 
★★

Pros: The scene with the lads reminiscing about Katie dancing in her fancy pants really stood out.

Cons: A few glimmers of fun but overall a bit predictable.


Our Verdict:  It didn’t really live up to the promising comedy title. The production needs a little more work to bring its concept to fruition.


Courtesy of Etcetera Theatre

The Etcetera theatre has been a hub of activity during the Camden Fringe. There have been plenty of great shows on there over the past few weeks, and I was intrigued to find I would be reviewing a production titled Pot Noodles & Knickers Anticipating an afternoon of good comedy, I arrived at the venue and was greeted by a gentleman carrying a tray of what you would expect to be ice cream or sweets. In this case, however, the treat was Pot Noodles. This set the stage for a production which started with a good concept, but sadly did not have enough steam to carry itself through an hour-long performance.

Pot Noodles and Knickers used a simple set. The stage was bare with an occasional projected backdrop image of Scottish mountains, interspersed with sound effects of sheep bleating and varying weather conditions. The story follows Kevin and Dave on a walking holiday through the Scottish Highlands. Since planning the trip Dave has split up with his girlfriend Katie and now the best mates are using the break as some therapy to help him recover. Dave is unaware, however, that Katie and Kevin have been having a fling behind his back.

Things begin to unravel when they get lost and then both get injured, effectively stranding them in the middle of nowhere while they await rescue. Along the way Dave discovers the affair by way of a stray pair of Katie’s knickers in Kevin’s rucksack. With neither of them physically able to storm off there is nothing to do but to sit tight and work through their anger, recriminations and guilt. All this plus the fact that Dave was in charge of bringing emergency food supplies. And his choice? The dreaded Pot Noodles!

The performance I attended was at 3pm on a Tuesday afternoon, and so had a pretty sparse audience. I think more people would have helped to generate atmosphere. Despite this setback, the players bravely soldiered on. Unfortunately without the punctuation of audience reactions and laughter, the comedy felt a little flat. It increasingly seemed like a tall order to conjure an hour or so of entertainment from these two young men on a hiking trip, arguing over a girl represented by a pair of spangly knickers. Matthew Durkan and Geoffrey Card took on the roles of Kevin and Dave ably enough. Their emotions and reactions are what you would expect under the circumstances, but there’s not enough detail to bring the story to life. There was little new content and unfortunately the show felt a bit predictable at times. A highlight was a shared reverie of Katie gyrating in the aforementioned sparkly pants. More moments like that are needed to personalise this tale so that we can relate to the characters more effectively.

Granted, it is never easy to perform without a warm audience, and in this respect Pot Noodles and Knickers is a brave effort. None the less the production needs a little more work. There were occasionally some memorable sequences, but more of these are needed to bring the production’s concept to fruition.

Seen the show yourself? Agree or disagree? Submit your own review with our Camden Fringe Big Audience Project! 

Pot Noodles & Knickers runs at the Etcetera Theatre until 22 August 2013.
Box Office: 020 7482 4857 or book online at http://www.etceteratheatre.com/index.php?id=2

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