One Monkey Don't Stop No Show
26 October 2011 WOS Rating: Reader Reviews: View and add to our user reviews Don Evans’s One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show, is billed as a mix of Restoration comedy and The Cosby Show. I wasn’t convinced it was going to deliver; at first glance that seems a lot of cultural ground to cover, but this Eclipse Theatre production succeeds. The misunderstandings, forbidden love, bawdy humour (much coming from an illicit copy of The Joy of Sex) and the problems inherent in meeting family expectations all combine in a fast-paced laughter-heavy show. The Harrisons live in a well-to-do (read: white) Philadelphia suburb, their sedate church-led family life shattered by the arrival of Reverend Dr Avery Harrison’s orphaned niece, who comes to live with her father’s former business partner, Caleb ‘Cal’ Johnson. Libby Watson’s design is a lot of fun – the Harrison’s living room is almost identical to the doll’s house I had in the 80s, and Cal’s bachelor pad with the fold-down bed is perfect for his character (and his fastidiousness with the blanket is a brilliant touch!). Director Dawn Walton cleverly plays it, with another nod to The Cosby Show, as a sitcom, complete with huge ‘On Air’ signs, a technician and canned applause; it’s a very knowing production, conscious of its influence and influences. Framing as a TV show allows the performances to be big, the gags to be bigger and it lets the audience suspend belief for the evening. It’s neat and brilliantly timed with a cracking cast. Ayesha Antoine as country niece Beverley makes a convincing transition from Southern bumpkin to worldly-wise self-assured young woman. As Aunt Myra, Jocelyn Jee Essien can crack up an entire audience with her delivery of a word, phrase or just the way she pours coffee. She and Roger Griffiths (Avery) bring excellent physical comedy too, and the scenes with them together are gold. Daniel Francis is also perfect as commitment phobic Cal, a blend of comedy arrogance, intelligence and well-hidden insecurity. Jacqueline Boatswain delights in the – very different - smaller roles of independent woman Mozelle and Mrs Caldwell. The characterisation is, in places, one dimensional, and the ends are neatly and hurriedly tied up, but these are down to the script, and are in keeping with the styles Evans follows. The cast and the great reaction throughout from a highly appreciative audience make this a very enjoyable night out. What a shame it took so long - nearly 30 years - to get its European debut. - Laura Maley Related Content Back to Northwest Homepage
Subscribe to our free newsletter
Featured Editor's Picks
: The economic impact of Arts & Culture in the UK Infographic When Culture Secretary Maria Miller called for the arts to make their "economic case" for subsidy, t... Plays Cast: Harry Potter star in Southwark Moment, more for Branagh's Macbeth Bonnie Wright, best known for playing Ginny Weasley in the Harry Potter films, will make her stage d... Brief Encounter with ... The Kite Runner's Ben Turner Ben Turner stars in the stage version of the bestselling book The Kite Runner, which runs at Liverpo... Titus Andronicus (RSC) This latest production of Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus, to borrow from football punditry, is a p... : Britain's outdoor theatres Take Five With half-term approaching, the weather (hopefully) set to improve for the bank holiday weekend and ... West End Live returns to Trafalgar Square next month West End Live, a weekend of free entertainment from top London shows, will return to Trafalgar Squar... : 'I carry the ghost of Gregory Peck on my shoulders' Robert Sean Leonard Actor Robert Sean Leonard is currently playing Atticus Finch in Timothy Sheader's production of To K... To Kill A Mockingbird Twenty years ago, a young Robert Sean Leonard appeared on the London stage with Alan Alda in... X Factor musical titled I Can't Sing!, opens Palladium March 2014 The forthcoming X Factor musical will be called I Can't Sing! The Musical and will premiere at the L... Donmar stages Nick Payne premiere, Wesker's Roots & Tom Hiddleston in Coriolanus The Donmar Warehouse has announced its new season, which features the premiere of Nick Payne's new p...