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Camden Fringe: Pilgrim Shadow, Tristan Bates Theatre

Part of The Camden Fringe 2013
Written and directed by Steve Jordan
★★★

Pros: An entertaining premise with a few good laughs.

Cons: Lacking originality and consistent humour.

Our verdict: A well-acted production, but light years from the wow factor.

Courtesy of Manmoth Productions

Sci-fi is like Marmite: you either you love it or hate it. I’m not a big fan, but I’m willing to give anything a try (except WAG! The Musical, of course). Strolling up to the Tristan Bates Theatre to see ManMoth’s production of Pilgrim Shadow, I wondered what the subject matter might be. The story involved two hapless criminals, Tyler and Gary, who are on the run in the distant future. Gary is a slow-witted dimwit twit, with a touch of the Stacey Soloman (shrieks and all). Tyler is a pragmatic, erratic grump – struggling to keep tabs on his idiot sidekick and suppress his own greedy ambitions.

Now, this pairing dynamic is getting pretty overused when it comes to comedy double acts. I felt, with the dating of the piece, there could’ve been some real originality in the characters (I shuddered a little when I wrote ‘hapless’ in the last paragraph).

Being a comedy show, character depth can be sacrificed in return for quality jokes. Although there were some really funny moments (the line about the S-Club pencil case in particular), quite often there was a bit too much over-egging of the one-liners, which not only devalued the original bit of humour, but also flattened the pace of the story. The delivery and timing were generally spot on, although Gary’s shrieking ventured from the amusing to the aurally annoying.

All in all, it wasn’t painful or boring – it just didn’t quite hit the right spot. In fact, the story itself was nicely-constructed and had an intriguing bit of tension: would the space authorities catch up with our heroes? Was there really an explorer called Shadow who owned a ship called The Pilgrim? Would there be enough energy for warp speed? Oh god, I’m turning…

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

Pilgrim Shadow runs at Tristan Bates Theatre until 3rd August 2013
Box Office: 020 7240 6283 or book online at: http://www.tristanbatestheatre.co.uk/tbt_performanceListing.asp?classname=pilgrim

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