It is an interesting idea to stage a comedic play about the backstage conversations that take place between stage hands, in the shadow of the performer that they work for, but this idea has not been developed well here. Two individuals, whilst setting out the props required for the upcoming show, discuss the various entertainment careers that their secretive boss has had, jumping into the different role themselves. However, neither are natural entertainers or actors. So, expect short, cringe-worthy bursts of musical, vaudeville, and even a bit where they read out the puns on seaside postcards. The slice of stand-up, accompanied by an ostrich puppet, is especially groan-inducing. It is all quite clunky and amateurish.
Be wary of setting up an audience with Ted Pendleton.
The whole performance is intended to develop an aura of mystique around Ted Pendleton but the script doesn’t achieve this. It instead merely raises never-answered questions about a relationship with his sister, and references how he will probably get angry at anything that his assistants do.
The two stagehands have loosely defined characters themselves — there’s the new, young female one who wants to find out a bit about the person she is now working for, and there is the loyal, old male one who seems to have various secrets to keep for his long-time friend. But the acting is really quite bad throughout, and their default is to drastically over-do it. There is also a small role for a third actor, who plays the forever-young sister of Pendleton, who is for some reason still ‘trapped in the woods’, and also plays an interval ice-cream seller who walks onto stage for no reason. As I hope is evident, it all doesn’t make much sense, and struggles to hold together as an overall narrative. Be wary of setting up an audience with Ted Pendleton.