Writers: Susie Donkin, Pauline Morel, Angus Barr, Rina Vergano
Director: Angus Barr
Reviewer: Joan Phillips
After the hilarious Gloriator, Spitz &Co return this year with the equally terrific Glorilla.
This time, the acclaimed French actress Gloria Delaneuf follows the tracks of Diane Fossey into the Kungalunga Jungle to communicate with gorillas. At the similarities to Gorillas in the Mist and Fossey’s life have already ended. This show is more Morecambe and Wise, The Two Ronnies or ‘Allo ‘Allo with a little bit of French and Saunders thrown in.
Pauline Morel is hilarious as Delaneuf, the arrogant French artist and gifted ‘h-animal’ communicator. The only thing she holds in more contempt than the audience is her side-kick Josephine Cunningham, played by Susie Donkin. Managing her tricky celebrity client not only means Josephine is the world’s busiest tour manager, she is also the most obsequious and fawning.
You haven’t seen a better straight man than Susie Donkin since Stan Laurel. Donkin runs around pandering to Delaneuf’s outrageous demands. She manages the scene changes, acts as a lot of the props and plays the rest of the parts throughout the evening including Mickey, the amorous gorilla. She also pops up as a rather well-endowed Tarzan. Continuously, she volunteers to correct the French woman’s ‘Inglish’, she is always brushed away contemptuously. Josephine’s simultaneous French to English translation of Delaneuf’s speech to the United Nations is one of the best moments of the evening. There are some hilarious language misunderstandings – one of the funniest must be mistaking Procol Harum with Boko Haram.
It is not the most original show but these two talented, comic performers have created two perfect roles for themselves. Tiny Donkin shrinks beneath the gaze of the towering Morel to produce a very enjoyable and very silly evening. The interactions between the two provide much of the humour throughout. The physical comedy is terrific – the tent scene is one of the silliest and funniest of the year.
There were a few times when Glorilla meandered a little and could have been sharper although this audience enjoyed themselves enormously. A few moments of audience interaction were great fun. Watch out if you are single, male and under 35 – you could find yourself at the centre of attention of either a tigressor a mouse – no prizes for guessing who is who.
Runs until 16 April 2016 then continues tour | Image: Contributed