Muppits Die Hard (Wardrobe Theatre)
A madcap, zany, original alternative to the Christmas schmaltz.
One of the best titles this Christmas and also one of the most madcap and original, Muppits Die Hard does exactly what it says on the tin, those delightful Jim Henson puppets tackling the greatest Christmas movie of them all-It's A Wonderful Life be damned.
It's an idea that demands attention and is packing out the tiny Wardrobe Theatre- one could see it doing great business in Edinburgh. The festival guidelines would also help it condense a slightly baggy eighty five minute running time, it needs a sharp edit to make it leaner and meaner.
It's a rather charming concoction though, featuring a lot of the Muppet characters we have come to love, Fozzy Bear as the deep voiced officer on the outside, Miss Piggy as Holly Gennaro McClane, and on a personal mission to bag Alan Rickman. Kermit is stuck as compere and we want more of him, could we imagine him donning that dirty white vest for himself?
Its influences are wide ranging- there is a great Peep Show routine in there and it is imaginatively staged by Chris Coller who solves how to put skyscrapers and helicopters in a room above a pub. The hard working cast of three have a great ear for the Henson voices and each are more then proficient, Harry Humbertstone as the droll, Germanic inflected Rickman in mad Hans Gruber mode and a deep barrelled Fozzy, Andrew Kingston who plays Bruce McClane as Bunsen Honeydrew without the glasses and Corina Bona as the sex crazed piglet, who can't wait to be Rickman's bacon sandwich!
The songs aren't as witty as the book and have a tendency to meander and sightlines need to be improved in the Wardrobe to help ensure the smaller details can be seen by everyone. It works though as a zany alternative to the Christmas schmaltz, grab a drink and enjoy the action. It doesn't top Muppets Christmas Carol as the best Muppet Christmas but it has a mighty good go.