Writers: Adrian Edmondson and Nigel Planer
Director: Rachel Kavanaugh
Gary Savage and Hugh Delavois have been part of each other’s lives since they first started drama school. Not so secretly hating one another, they keep crossing paths on jobs and have somehow both found themselves working on the same film on location in Iceland. But their relationship isn’t the only thing that’s explosive – their trailer is sat on an active volcano, the glacier is melting and there’s an avalanche that’s threatening to destroy their only way out.
Hugh (Samuel West) has the best trailer on set, much to the dismay of Gary (Rufus Hound) even though he only has one line in the whole movie and is dressed as an angry lobster thermidor. Runner Leela (Nenda Neururer) is trying her best to hold everything together on the chaotic set – a missing actor, an angry director and a tenuous mountain that doesn’t want to cooperate. Gary is an alcoholic, desperate for another drink to pass the time alongside doing his best (and succeeding) to get under Hugh’s skin and wind him up as much as possible. As the weather worsens, the actors attempt to find solace together, putting their petty differences aside (slightly), confiding in each other and praying that they get off the mountain alive.
It’s Headed Straight Towards Us is a brilliantly funny behind-the-scenes / mid-life-crisis-style comedy from the brains of comedic legends Adrian Edmondson and Nigel Planer. The characters are excellently believable, and although similar in some respects, still contrast well together. Hound plays the typical ‘bad boy’ on set – more interested in finding the nearest bar instead of learning his lines. West plays the serious yet slightly stuck-up classical actor – with the only thing seemingly uniting them other than their past, being their disdain towards fellow actor Daniel Day-Lewis. Neururer balances out the on-set egos perfectly, her calm yet firm character still sprinkled with humour through her youthful outlook and impatience towards the situation. All three actors pace their comedic delivery well, while also exposing the snippets of their characters’ vulnerability with ease.
Michael Taylor’s set and costume design is a huge aspect that contributes to the success of this show. The trailer is immediately identifiable, with the addition of falling snow at various points throughout the performance a nice touch for the wintery backdrop. As the avalanche worsens, Taylor, alongside Fergus O Hare’s sound design and Mark Doubleday’s lighting design, create a genuine sense of shock and panic as they shake and rattle the on-stage trailer, with the actors hurling themselves around over the furniture. Hound’s impressive thermidor costume throws in a quirky layer of ridiculousness that alongside the occasionally surprisingly poignant script, works really well as a contrasting element.
The brilliance of this show, aside from the comedy factor, is the believability. Whether you’ve worked with cast or crew before or not – it comes across as very genuine, with neither the characters nor the lines feeling forced or under-created. Edmondson and Planer’s silly yet still witty humour is easily woven throughout every point in the script, with Hound, West and Neururer expertly becoming their characters and delivering an excellent show from beginning to end.
Runs until 20 October 2023