Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Review King Kong (A Comedy)

King Kong (A Comedy)
by Daniel Clarkson

The Ape Of Wrath

It's one of the iconic images of Hollywood horror, the giant ape clambering up New York's Empire State Building, tenderly clutching a damsel in much distress, creating a mild sexual frisson.

In a concept invented by former pilot Merian C Cooper,  King Kong combines a Jules Verne-like adventure tale with an age-old tale of man's overweening arrogance and nature striking back with  of course state-of-the art special effects for its time

Now a cast of five take on the tale in  a comic recreation blending the different incarnations of Kong since his first appearance in 1933.

Daniel Clarkson's previous success was the parody of the Harry Potter books, Potted Potter. This time he turns his pen to the much older franchise of King Kong. We say "franchise" but reading up on the history, it turns out that King Kong has a mass of copyright tangles as tightly knitted as the dense vegetation of a jungle

Anyway back to the version in The Vaults. The jokes come thick and fast, Airplane style and, thankfully, more hit than miss in an enjoyable, if unoriginal, parody. There's a touch of Treasure Island and many groan-out-loud jokes.

In addition, there's a bit of aping of Marx Brothers' style humour,  running jokes about the movie business and an extended bit of cannibalism - both literally and feeding off Hollywood cliché.

OK, it has its weaknesses - some of the gags go on too long and one particular running joke about a put-upon but indestructible character needs a final different twist. But it's all good, clean fun with a set design by Simon Scullion descending like an art deco toast rack giving a Punch and Judy feel to the show as the characters and props pop up and down and effective lighting by Tim Mascall .

There are times it's like a computer game - the jokes just go on and on and get repeated,. But hey, there is some pathos in the final scenes as the creature's fate is sealed.

Admiration of the cast's unflagging energy - Benjamin Chamberlain, Rob Crouch, Sam Donnelly, Alix Dunmore and Brendan Murphy - is built into the experience. We give an unpeeled banana amber light for frothy and fruity family entertainment. 

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