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The Complete World of Sports

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
The Reduced Shakespeare Company is back in town with a show for the Olympics that might save you the trouble of going to see the games themselves.

Actually, it's a sporting bonanza set up as a television show with three goofy guys -- Reed Martin, Austin Tichenor and Matt Rippy - going through the slow-motions of a bunch of no-hopers on track, golf course and baseball field.

There are one or two diversions into cricket and soccer, but these are not all that convincing. And, curiously for a show that is supposedly topical, there are no references to the security scares that have erupted in the past few days, and no real hint of a drugs scandal.

The last Olympic Games in London were played out in a sweltering heat; these new ones are likely to be drenched in rain, but there's no sense of that in this sunny, funny show, which embraces the audience in good humour and makes you feel good about not being all that fit.

Most of the sports referred to are mainstream, but you may find a few laughs in train-spotting or dwarf-tossing; if you're black, you may be identified as Tiger Woods, and if you're sitting in the circle, you're sure to be a Muppet.

The show has completed a long tour on both sides of the Atlantic, which may explain a slight air of stale buns; "is darts really a sport?" is not one of the most pressing questions facing mankind today, nor do we care all that much -- do we? -- about a definition of athletic activity that includes wife-carrying, bog-snorkelling and cheese-rolling.

But the goonish trio are as irrepressibly optimistic about us finding them as funny as they do themselves, and two hours in their company is not the worst way of spending an evening before the full horror of the organised (well, slightly more organised, we hope) games begins.


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