Director: Ben Pettit-Wade
Company: Hijinx in association with Spy Monkey
Reviewer: Beth Steer
At just over an hour long, Hijinx and Spymonkey’s latest production, The Flop, is anything but.
Charting the marriage of Marquis de Langey (Iain Gibbons) and Marie Sant-Simon (Jess Mabel Jones) in mid-1600s Paris, where impotence is illegal, and the King is revered, this fantastic piece of work is bizarre, hilarious, and incredibly witty.
When the Marquis is accused of being ‘less than upstanding’, and fails to consummate his marriage to Marie, he faces public trial – leading to a dose of wounded pride, and an outcry against his failing manhood. As Marquis, Gibbons plays a dandy member of the aristocracy – with charming, effeminate, and hilarious panache. As Marie, Jess Mabel Jones is absolutely outstanding. She possesses the stage, lifting her character with subtleties and delivering her lines with perfect timing and wit.
What works best about this play is the way it pokes fun at the nature of theatre – the actors mock theatrical concepts, using the farce of theatre to poke fun at both each other – particularly when lines are fluffed or song lyrics tripped up – and as a wider socio-political commentary.
The Flop embodies Hijinx as a company – with its focus on inclusivity, fun, and silliness. A special mention should go to the unassuming BSL-Eng interpreter Sami Thorpe, who signs the entire play, and does an outstanding job. Likewise, Beth House who audio describes the performance.
In short, it’s absolutely absurd. It’s anarchic, chaotic, disordered, and strange. But, somehow, the combination of the topic, the delivery, and the brilliantly choreographed musical interludes and songs – picture a huge drum, with the cast marching to repeated chants of ‘her vagina’ – make it work. The Flop is a genuine laugh out loud piece of theatre, that’ll have you swallowing your giggles and flabbergasted at what’s unfolding in front of you. An incredibly refreshing, unexpected evening out.
Reviewed on: 13th July 2018 | Image: Contributed