Theatre Review: Robinson Crusoe and the Caribbean Pirates, until Sunday 17 January 2010, King’s Theatre, Edinburgh

10 Dec

Allan Stewart

*****

They’re back: Allan Stewart and Grant Stott return to the stage of Edinburgh’s King’s Theatre for their annual barrage of topical jokes, cross-dressing and audience interaction wrapped up under the banner of Robinson Crusoe and the Caribbean Pirates.

The plot, what little there is, revolves around the search for buried treasure on the faraway Mango Island, Mrs Crusoe (Stewart) and her son Robinson (Johnny Mac) forced to leave the safety of Edinburgh while being chased by the evil Donald “Blackheart” McTrump.

Along the way they’re helped by the Mermaid Mrs McTrump (Jo Freer), The Captain (Charlie Cairoli) and Girl Friday (Moyo Omoniyi) as McTrump gets ever nearer.

The sheer variety of gags and one-liners on offer here means there’s little chance that anyone will be left wanting, the odd song and dance routine from the likes of Beyonce, Susan Brown and Alesha Dixon (or a close approximation from Allan Stewart in drag) helping to keep things bouncing along for most of the show.

There is the occasional misstep: Charlie Cairoli appears in a number of sequences where not much happens, presumably to allow for more costume changes from the main cast. Stott and Freer are also given one-too-many scenes of domestic arguments and there’s an appearance from Churchill the dog which must have seemed a good idea on paper but which merely stops the show dead in its tracks.

Thankfully Stewart, Mac and impressive newcomer Omoniyi always return to put the show back on the rails following any longueurs, the whole production merely an excuse to allow the former a chance to cement his position as one of the UK’s finest Dame’s.

Impressive set design and a stand-out underwater puppetry sequence before the end of Act One add to the sheen of the show, helping to make it a much needed escape from drab reality and a fine way to end the theatregoing year.

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