Pros: A light-hearted portrayal of Scott’s South Pole expedition allows these actors to teach the audience about an important historical event but also to show their own versatile talents.
Cons: A number of the jokes were dragged out for too long and I really didn’t understand the continued reference to 1980s pop music!
It’s always a pleasure when you recognise an actor from a previous Off-West End show. Having seen Samuel Dent at the New Diorama when I was just starting this gig with Everything Theatre his face was familiar, and once I’d placed him I knew the show was in good hands with Dent’s Captain R.F. Scott at the wheel.
The Last March is an exploration and retelling (with a vast amount of author’s licence) of the disastrous Scott expedition to be the first human to the South Pole. Samuel Dent, Sam Gibbs and Pernilla Holland’s 60 minute ‘sketch’ is funny, heart-warming and emotive. Sam Gibbs takes on the roles of four of Scott’s colleagues with enthusiasm while Pernilla Holland – the only Norwegian in the cast – plays Kathleen Scott and Roald Amundsen, the Norwegian who pipped Scott to the post (or should I say the pole?), with fantastic deadpan comedy.
The show advertises itself as either ‘comically tragic or tragically comic’. There is a very strong element of fun and comedy running through this play despite the actual true tale being one of disappointment and death. However I felt a number of the jokes were stretched out during the show. What began as funny continued on for too long in some cases and I definitely began to find certain jokes a little monotonous. Equally I didn’t quite understand the bizarre insertion of 1980s pop music into the show, which – although it did make the audience laugh – seemed rather irregular. I appreciated the short sub-story in the middle where they spoke about Norway and, in a stereotypical British manner, took the mickey politely out of the Scandinavian country while at the same time being self-deprecating. It acted as a small interval in the telling of the Scott story and allowed the audience some additional laughs.
With some clever thought and effort Tinder Theatre managed to transform the little space at the Southwark Playhouse into a clever set. The set was basic; a crumpled white sheet as a backdrop and three wooden packing cases was all the cast needed to transport the audience into the southern hemisphere. Props were aplenty, with an immense amount of styrofoam and shredded paper being used. But none of it felt overused or messy and the direction of the three cast members turned this show into a smooth journey from start to finish.
Despite only giving this show three stars I would highly recommend it. The performances are very strong; they have to be to keep an audience enthralled when three actors have to take on a plethora of characters in a very short space of time. I never found the character changes tedious or hard to follow and the show only runs at 60 minutes so you can’t complain about the length. Despite only being an hour long the show is jam-packed with content and is a brilliant show to take anyone to, be they your gran or your child!
Presented by: Tinder Theatre
Director: Ian Nicholson
Box Office: 020 7407 0234
Booking Link: http://southwarkplayhouse.co.uk/
Booking Until: 4th January 2014