Home Estate Planning The Frogs at Kiln Theatre: Surreal, unhinged fun

The Frogs at Kiln Theatre: Surreal, unhinged fun

0 comment

Writer Carl Grose and comedy team Spymonkey’s new play-within-a-play is a farcical adaptation of Aristophanes’ The Frogs that gloriously lampoons all things theatre. Not much is spared their satirical touch, from writer’s block to the humiliating compromises required of theatre funding.

Halfway through act one, mid-rehearsal of The Frogs, we discover that we, the spectators, are watching on stage precisely one of these humiliating funding quid pro quos, as Toby Park and Aitor Basauri, playing themselves as well as the Frogs’ Dionysus and Xanthias, flashback to when they were persuaded by an American billionaire to support her niece’s slapstick modernisation of The Frogs in return for a substantial “one million bucks each”.

The offer proves hard to resist given Toby Park’s long-lasting writer’s block and Spymonkey’s disarray following the death of one member and the departure of another one for the US. The remaining duo, having lost their mojo, find the gutsy, opinionated and strong-headed young niece is just what they needed to get it back: Spymonkey 2.0 is born.

Jacoba Williams is a revelation in the role of the billionaire’s niece, whose job is to produce, write, perform and motivate the reluctant actors. Her impressive acting talent, energy and stage presence allow her to take on and deliver, to great hilarity, also the entire remaining cast of The Frogs. She plays Heracles in a stupendous lion-skin costume; Charon, wearing a floating boat-shaped garment; a comically white-bearded Eurypides; the Chorus of Mystics and more.

Toby Park makes us laugh in an endearingly vulnerable kind of way and sings with an unexpectedly beautiful voice, while Aitor Basauri, quite simply, has funny bones: he could be standing in the middle of the stage in a tunic and sandals and have you in stitches just by raising an eyebrow.

The set design and costumes by Lucy Bradridge deserve a special mention. She makes an extraordinarily clever use of a revolving platform, occupying almost half the stage, to expand the sense of time and space walked by the characters. The same platform, when static, serves to mark landmass from water. Lastly, when Jacoba stands on it to deliver a boring explanation, Toby and Aitor are able to fast forward the speech by quickly revolving it once and and catch her right at the end of her peroration.

Fabulously silly costumes and ingenious puppetry deliver as much of the fun as the lines themselves, none more so than the skit where the Chorus of Mystics, reimagined as three soul sisters, afro-wigged in 70s elephant legged trousers, ceremoniously present psychoactive frogs for Dionysus and Xanthias to lick.

Spymonkey’s The Frogs is a show that can be enjoyed regardless of any familiarity with Aristophanes’ original play. This show will give you fits of giggle and leave you grinning all the way home: the funniest comedy you’ll see this year.

You may also like

Leave a Comment

Are you sure want to unlock this post?
Unlock left : 0
Are you sure want to cancel subscription?