Just because The Translucent Frogs of Quuup won the Guardian's Best Original Musical Award on the Edinburgh Fringe this year doesn't mean to say it's any good. Too many average-to-inadequate shows get praised to high heaven during the annual Fringe frenzy, when theatre critics seem to either lose their marbles or get light-headed on the Edinburgh air and laugh hysterically at anything.
It's a shame because actors and producers then tend to get carried away and actually start believing the lazy superlatives heaped on them, as if cutting and pasting all the 'quotes' is preferable to actually working hard to really make the show work in every respect for a ticket-paying audience.
The Translucent Frogs of Quuup (apparently it's pronounced 'Kyoop' by Amazonian jungle dwellers in case you want to give it a try) is a good example of an unremarkable but basically quite feeble entertainment suffering from barking mad Fringe over-hype and then hopping down to London without ironing out all the obvious inadequacies.
'Twee' and 'pointless' are the two key words that came to mind midway through this revue-style whimsy about gormless third class bank clerk Anthony Marigold Bentley and Surbiton princess Edith Jenkins, a boring 1920s suburban couple who sail up the Amazon for their honeymoon with only a ukelele to strum at night.
I was never really sure why they embark on this quest to find a colony of see-through frogs in the first place, except that it's got something to do with discovering a 1922 Bengal Tiger matchbox in a rubbish skip.
Wearing a shiny green suit, author Chris Larner of The Right Size fame also pops on and off stage as a kind of narrator-cum-compere and he awards himself lots of slightly surreal lines such as: "The shadows spread like margarine across the endless crumpet of the landscape."
Meanwhile, Jonathan Robbins as the virginal banker and Rosalie Craig as his bonking-mad wife strain to make their groanable gags and obvious Carry On double entendres get laughs, like: Anthony: "I should like to take you up the Amazon." Edith: "What, so soon?"
Larner, who also directs, has written some reasonably charming tunes. But the production's overall lack of inventiveness and the poor level of sets and props only add to the impression that this froggy night in quirky Quuup is far too lite for its own good.
- Roger Foss