The King’s Head Theatre, London
Until 9th March 2019
Ever wondered how Timpson the shop came to be? Why they offer services such as repairing shoes and making keys under the same roof? Me either; but Gigglemug Theatre strive to bring their own brand of silliness and innovation to the mundane tale. Set in Victorian England and drawing inspiration from Romeo and Juliet, the Montashoes and Keypulets are at war.
Timpson the Musical at its heart is a slapstick extravaganza. Filled with exuberant energy from the cast and fun humor that is very at home in a contemporary pub theatre setting – “Keys are tiny saws!” The premise is definitely unique and successfully parodies the musical form. Sadly though, it is quite often non-sensical. This includes a lack of character development as well as historical accuracy. Discernably, the plot would benefit from delving further into the key parental relationships in addition to fact checking Victorian England occupations. A Victorian Astronaut – how very novel! Furthermore, the comedy itself relies heavily on sudden and random theatrical devices, rather than carefully crafted writing. Something dramatic happens. A woman screams and runs across the stage to defuse tension. Next Scene.
Plus, the casts’ puppetry work lacked detail and vigor. Seemingly forgetting puppetry basics of gaze and breathing; this lack of care would have the most basic puppeteer shaking their fist.
Despite this, the colourful live-action characters are zany and performed with conviction. Here lies the strength of the production. James Stirling offers us an engaging Master Keyulet showing a strong grasp of comedic timing. He complements Sabrina Messer’s rendition of Keeleigh Keyulet. Both performing their roles with fun and a relaxed confidence that is beautiful to see. The ensemble characters acted as both the minstrels and clowns of the piece. Alex Prescott’s parody of multiroling was precise and truly entertaining. The casts’ singing is strong and packed with charisma that crescendos profoundly during their weirdly awesome finale song. A strange, up-beat homage for this very special shop and silly musical.
© K. Blewett 2019