Pros: With songs, film, sketches, morphine margaritas and more! This show is packed with laughs.
Cons: A few sketches fall a little flat, and the purposeful ‘not-quite-sure-what-this-is’ style of delivery might frustrate a few.
Dave is off his face on morphine. His thumb is smashed to bits, and his girlfriend is pregnant. Sounds like the ideal time to commit to writing, producing and directing a show, in four months’ time, for the Camden Fringe doesn’t it? Well, that’s what Dave thought. If he was thinking anything at all, which he probably wasn’t…
The Hen & Chickens Theatre Bar in Islington is a perfect fringe venue. On the Monday night I attended the show, the downstairs bar was buzzing with drinkers. While, upstairs, the small theatre provided an ideal space for Jasper Valentine and David Hayler’s madcap, genre-defying show.
Morphine Margarita began shambolically enough, with Dave and Jasper explaining their random decision to sign up for the fringe. All with no show written… or planned, or anything. They also conducted this explanation whilst drinking Margaritas laced with Dave’s medicinal morphine. Righty-ho!
‘They’ve no techie’, they tell us, ‘so Jasper’s mum is on lights and sound’. Oh, Lord. We’re shown a video diary of the pair filling in their application form and, seemingly, winging it. Off-the-top of their heads they decide they would like to devise ‘A multimedia explosion of film, music, theatrical comedy & dance’, during which they promise to ‘rummage through the bin of modern life.’ They even toy with idea of calling the show ‘Dogging: the Musical’.
What follows thoroughly fulfils this brief, except for two significant details. First, it’s actually rather good. Second, Dave and Jasper, despite first appearances, are a surprisingly multi-talented pair. We do get film, animation, video, some songs (yes, even, Dogging: the Musical) and dance, as well as lashings of fun and laughs.
The sketches, which include a three-act dramatic study of the life of Vin Diesel, are loosely, yet cleverly, knitted around the duo’s lives since they committed to the show; which they follow through with, despite having pregnant girlfriends and full-time jobs. We get a peek at Dave’s mangled thumb (and, I think, his bum) and vehicular disasters. We even get to see Jasper’s girlfriend in labour, which gives the comedy a warm, human centre. It’s not long before you suspect that Dave and Jasper aren’t quite the shambles they’d have us believe, but actually committed, hard-working and talented fellas.
The standout sketch is a spot-on Game of Thrones parody filmed in Ikea. There are bathmats for cloaks, and a kids’ play tent as a castle. If you think there’s nothing funny about ‘Sansa Stark and ‘Smelly’ Little Finger’ think again.
There were a few technical glitches which put some pressure on Jasper, but they were easily forgiven. In sum Morphine Margarita is a well-rounded and professional show. It’s delivered by a talented duo who had their small, but happy, audience eating out of the palm of their hands.
Written by: Jasper Valentine and David Hayler.
Presented by: Oh Mamma
Booking Until: 23 August 2015
Booking Link: https://www.unrestrictedview.co.uk/ohh-mamma-present-morphine-margarita-part-of-the-camden-fringe/