Saturday, 12 March 2011
Puckoon at the Leicester Square Theatre
Spike Milligan is an acquired taste. On tour across Ireland, the audiences apparently loved his Puckoon and a few nights ago most of Leicester Square Theatre seemed to be chuckling away but I just didn’t get this play. The lead, Dan Milligan asks towards the end, “What is this play about anyway?” and I couldn’t help but wonder. I left completely confused!
This dingy comedy theatre is sandwiched between the cinemas and Chinatown. When we arrived there was a long queue outside eager to get in. Our seats were right at the front so I had ample space to spread out and get comfy. It soon became apparent that there is no real narrative to Puckoon, at least not one that is possible to discern, much like the Red Shoes it is a folktale though with less of a resonant message.
The muso-actors in Puckoon are multi-talented, each taking on a different character every minute. Paul Boyd sits by the piano (as the Writer) providing a running commentary and musical interludes throughout. I enjoyed the music and feel it adds another dimension to the piece. It is impressive to see such a large variety of instruments played including ukulele, flute, harmonica and percussion.
Six witty men make up the cast but the constant manic dashing about means it is difficult to concentrate on any one of them. Russell Morton is particularly engaging. I have seen him previously in Bent at the Tabard and was pleased to spot a familiar face amongst the mayhem. He displays real versatility and even managed occasionally to make me laugh.
A strange little play that will, I’m sure, amuse some audiences, but was unfortunately really not for me.
Puckoon continues until 27 March, book here.