Writer: Nick Walker
Directors: Nick Walker and Emma Rabbits
Reviewer: Nicole Craft
Four women, I mean guys, about to have a shoot-out at high-noon to find out who gets to open the treasure chest that they found after digging up the Deputy Sheriff’s wife’s grave, the location of which is revealed by the actual Sheriff’s sister who was tracked down in Bedworth after everyone thought she, I mean he, had been shot by a may or may not be, Mexican… got it?
Promising all of the expected chaos and clinging on to the Wild West Midlands bandwagon that is the ever popular ‘Anti-Panto’, The Good, The Bad and the Ugly Sisters gallops its way in to the Belgrade Theatre to kick off its run in the B2 and appeal to a more mature audience than its pantomime counterpart on the main stage.
Billed as a Christmas Western, four gals play, well a few more than four guys, and a girl, and some horses on a quest for the town’s treasure. With the usual B2 studio setting of limited props and little by way of special effects, the cast has no choice but to get straight in to setting the precedent for truly awful gags and local jokes for local folk right away in the hopes of keeping the audience’s attention.
Laura Tipper is a pleasure to watch and manages to add a degree of separation to each character she plays despite there not being very much to separate them at all – her mannerisms and expressions win us over and her quick wit further seals the deal. Katy Stephens, although lacking a little on the comedic timing front, manages to come a close second, her general persona and interaction with the audience captivating throughout. Miriam Edwards and Aimee Powell are somewhat less memorable however the four do have a great rapport and bounce off each other successfully making for mostly comfortable viewing.
A few fitting mentions to the coronation of Coventry as 2021 City of Culture, the worthy winner having been announced to waiting crowds in the Belgrade’s foyer moments before the show started, help get the audience going and for the most part we do hold on until the end. There are a few too many weak points, however, and the laughs slow down rather rapidly on numerous occasions.
As forgettable as it will inevitably be, overall, The Good, The Bad and the Ugly Sisters is one of the better ‘Anti-Panto’ efforts from the Belgrade. Expect a low-budget, cheesy, pun-ridden attack on local landmarks with some occasionally good acting thrown in and you won’t be disappointed – although taking in some Christmas spirits beforehand might make it all the more palatable.
Runs until 30 December 2017 | Image: Robert Day