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Review: Pull My Goldfinger, Hen and Chickens Theatre

One of the many, many terrible things about being young in the eighties was the majority of mainstream TV comedy, and how it could be regularly relied upon to trot out hackneyed James Bond parodies that lacked any wit or invention. Along with that was the fact that the idea of male nudity was considered extremely risqué, and even the hint of a brief shot of an inch of a buttock would have some audiences in hysterics. Now, thankfully, those days are over, except that tonight at the Hen and Chickens Theatre they weren't.The biggest issue the show faces…

Summary

Rating

Poor

A James Bond spoof that could have come straight out of the eighties, this includes far too much needless nudity and a reliance on audience participation rather than a narrative.

One of the many, many terrible things about being young in the eighties was the majority of mainstream TV comedy, and how it could be regularly relied upon to trot out hackneyed James Bond parodies that lacked any wit or invention. Along with that was the fact that the idea of male nudity was considered extremely risqué, and even the hint of a brief shot of an inch of a buttock would have some audiences in hysterics. Now, thankfully, those days are over, except that tonight at the Hen and Chickens Theatre they weren’t.

The biggest issue the show faces is that male nudity in live comedy is pretty passe, but also problematic if there isn’t a good reason for it. Yet Carlos Sandin doesn’t seem to realise this as he spends well over five minutes at the beginning completely naked as he slowly evolves from a neanderthal in to James Bond, and only right at the end is there a vague link to the infamous spy. I was initially prepared to be forgiving and consider it misjudged, but a second bout of nudity is absolutely pointless, and at this point the show begins to feel uncomfortable.

When Sandin is clothed and in character his Bond is a strange old thing. He has charisma and can certainly act, but there’s only a very vague suggestion of a narrative and this is largely an excuse for a lot of physical comedy and bits and pieces of pastiche. The latter isn’t handled well either, one of the most mocked aspects of Bond is the ridiculous names the Bond Girls were saddled with, and Sandin only doubles down on this, while his recreation of the opening credits limps on for far too long.

There is some promise shown at times; early on Sandin mimics an increasingly absurd chase and it is very funny, while he shows himself to be nimble on his feet as he recreates one of Bond’s infamous seduction scenes, playing both the hero and the femme fatale with a light but amusing touch. It’s just a shame there’s not more of these elements. Instead it all too often relies on audience participation segments which appear to have no rhyme or reason. At one point Sandin arms the audience with frisbees and hacky sacks and attempts to dodge them when thrown, but then he repeats the segment twice and it feels really inane.

There are perhaps the bones of a potentially good show here, if Sandin ditched the queasy nudity and created a much stronger narrative it might be of interest, and he’s certainly a talented physical comedian. But right now there’s only about ten minutes of okay material and fifty which often feel plain odd. He really needs to take a look at the many, many parodies of this not so secret agent and try to create humour that doesn’t feel decades old.


Written and directed by: Carlos Sandin

Pull My Goldfinger plays at various London venues throughout July, plus EdFringe and Camden Fringe in August. Full dates can be found here.

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