scotsman review: "exceptional talent"
A lovely four-star review in today's Scotsman crowns the Dreadful's return to Scotland:
Bursting with derring-do, gothic villainy and aristocratic camp, Victorian pulp fiction is ripe for comic pastiche. And sketch troupe The Penny Dreadfuls embrace the genre with enthusiasm. They send up their inspirations with such panache that their spoofing might well sustain an entire career's worth of material.
Imagine Conan Doyle, Dickens and H G Well's prose brought to life as Michael Palin and Terry Jones's Ripping Yarns, because Aeneas Faversham's is a world narrated with arched eyebrow, a candlelit realm of orphans, adventurers, freaks, diabolical laughter and Machiavellian plots. Fresh-faced yet mutton-chopped, macassared and puff-chested in their waistcoats, the youthful ensemble of Jamie Anderson, Humphrey Ker, David Reed, and Thom Tuck have contrived an almost entirely new show since their well-received Fringe run.
Tuck and Reed in particular are blessed with considerable facial tics and scheming expressions, and the cast interact effortlessly, whether as a bellicose Abe Lincoln, irrepressible childhood apparition Don Diego, impeccably mannered English spies or Gilbert and Sullivan's eavesdropping rivals.
The Dreadfuls occasionally appear a little too pleased with their production, but the characterisation is spot-on and it takes exceptional talent to overact with this degree of comic timing and capacity for braying bluster.