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Home arrow Archive: Earlier Fringes arrow Archive: Buxton 2011
That's Not The Way To Do It
Published on Monday, 11 July 2011

4 stars

Underground Venues - Pauper's Pit
7, 10, 13-14 Jul, 9:15pm-10:00pm; 15 Jul, 6:15pm-7:00pm
Reviewed by Alice de Cent

Wooden Spoon Theatre take us into the world of Peter and Judith, children’s entertainers extraordinaire, whose act – and marriage – is not going smoothly. The concept of such an undercurrent of conflict isn’t new, but that simple premise is enough to build an enjoyable and absorbing show.

Both actors gave exuberant performances, and trod an expert line to temper the slapstick with sincere feeling, avoiding the superficial and creating a real relationship. These touches, more than the comically poorly-hidden quarrels, made me feel I was seeing something usually kept behind the scenes.

The script is well-constructed, and full of fantastic little asides that were consistently delivered with expert precision. This isn’t complex stuff – the plot having few real surprises – but with echoes of Punch and Judy, who make a couple of appearances, the tone is set exactly right. The whole show accomplishes capably what it sets out to do.

There were a couple of moments where I felt that the pace of the dialogue could bear a little hurrying, so as not to overstate some of the simpler jokes. I am obliged to say, too, that I thought that Judith’s outburst regarding Peter’s sexual inadequacies came a little too soon.  A touch more subtlety would take this moment out of danger of being a standard barb, into a true bone of contention between the couple.

At 45 minutes, this was never a piece in danger of wearying the audience with too much of the same. Indeed, I was rather surprised that even that time had elapsed when the performance reached its conclusion.  That’s Not The Way To Do It is above all, a show that is easy to watch and easy to enjoy – well executed, entertaining stuff.

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These are archived reviews of shows from Buxton 2011.  We keep our archives online as a courtesy to performers, and for readers who'd like to research previous years' reviews.