Pros: Light hearted King Kong romp which should keep older children amused for an hour and a half. A couple of ‘for the parents’ moments.
Cons: Old jokes delivered in a shouty style which started to be annoying towards the end.
On arrival at the small underground theatre, The Vaults, we sat on the old cinema-style seats listening to an eclectic mix of appropriately themed music (The Banana Splits, The Monkees – you get the picture). I had no idea there were so many ape-related songs around.
The stage contained a pyramid-shaped structure covered by a sheet, to give away no clues. When it was lifted it revealed . . . . .quite a plain set of 1930s-style stepped screens. I couldn’t think what the point of the sheet was. The set worked well though, allowing the characters – both actors and their puppet or cut-out alter-egos – to appear and disappear as required.
The play is a slapstick version of King Kong, following the basic story of the 1933 film: producer finds a leading lady, goes to a remote island, brings Kong back to New York, and so on. There were amusing moments. I particularly liked the Token Guy running joke and the extremely low-tech special effects. Most of the time, however, the jokes were a bit old hat and signposted for far too long. I lost count of how many times we heard one character’s instructions regarding a hand grenade. (He had to ‘pull the pin and throw it’ and yes, he threw the pin!) Just saying it once would have been sufficient and funnier.
Five actors played the various parts, using Sophia Simensky’s excellent costume choices which really suited the loud and lively children’s TV style of the piece. Given the pedigree of the creative team, who also worked on Potted Potter, this show was disappointing. It relied on obvious jokes and schoolboy humour. The lines were predictable and well worn.
Having said that, the jokes did go down well with a group of schoolboys in the front rows, and with some other sections of the audience. It was also performed well and made good use of simple props. So whilst it really wasn’t my cup of tea, it obviously hit the spot for others.
Author: Daniel Clarkson
Director: Owen Lewis
Box Office: 020 7401 9603
Booking Link: www.KingKongComedy.com
Booking Until: 27 August 2017