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Duck Flu, Etcetera Theatre – Review

Pros: Some genuinely funny moments in a play full of one-liners, performed with enthusiasm by a small and able cast.

Cons: Fun and frothy, but the play doesn’t really have anything to say.

Pros: Some genuinely funny moments in a play full of one-liners, performed with enthusiasm by a small and able cast. Cons: Fun and frothy, but the play doesn't really have anything to say. Annie and Berry are non-identical twin sisters, living in an apocalyptic very near future. (You can tell it's very near, because of the references to Russell Brand and Nigel Farage). The play opens with them discussing how best to kill their mother - dispassionately, without emotion: "I hate having to kill family members," says Berry. "It's so fucking boring here. All you do is wake up,…

Summary

Rating

Good

If you're a fan of Elf Lyons' stand-up comedy you'll enjoy the humour, but don't look for a profound theatrical experience.

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Annie and Berry are non-identical twin sisters, living in an apocalyptic very near future. (You can tell it’s very near, because of the references to Russell Brand and Nigel Farage). The play opens with them discussing how best to kill their mother – dispassionately, without emotion: “I hate having to kill family members,” says Berry. “It’s so fucking boring here. All you do is wake up, drink tea and commit first degree murder.”

They’re living in a world in which bird flu has mutated to horrific proportions: not just duck flu but swan flu, eagle and puffin flu, and even tit flu have ravaged the country, infecting its victims by turning them into giant birds. The only prevention, offered by the NHS, is to drink plenty of tea.

“It’s hard to get tea anywhere now,” says Ollie Mole, an intruder who interrupts the sisters’ household. “About five months ago we did a big order,” replies Berry. “On Ocado.” Olly has arrived fresh from his escape from incarceration by militant vegans, who force fed him hummous. “What did you do?” asks Berry. “I ate them.”

Duck Flu is an entertaining and often hilarious comedy, full of slick one-liners by comedian Elf Lyons, who plays Annie. Most of the good lines, though, are ably delivered by Harriet Kemsley as Berry, and a Thom Tuck as Ollie – two strong performers who pump out the gags with great panache.

Collectively directed by the cast of three, it’s a fun if brief experience: at around 40 minutes this falls somewhere between a play and an extended sketch. Introduced by Lyons as a work in progress, it’s lacking an ending; but there are enough laughs to keep a willing audience going for the duration.

Writer: Elf Lyons
Booking until: 17 January 2015
Box office: 020 7482 4857
Booking link: https://shop.ticketscript.com/channel/web2/get-dates/rid/FBWYQF4D/eid/233232/language/en/format/html

About Steve Caplin

Steve Caplin
Steve is a freelance artist and writer, specialising in Photoshop, who builds unlikely furniture in his spare time. He plays the piano reasonably well, the accordion moderately and the guitar badly. Steve does, of course, love the theatre. The worst play he ever saw starred Charlton Heston and his wife, who have both always wanted to play the London stage. Neither had any experience of learning lines. This was almost as scarring an experience as seeing Ron Moody performing a musical Sherlock Holmes. Steve has no acting ambitions whatsoever.