The key to this show is controlled havoc: A Royal Flush has the havoc down, they’re simply lacking the control.
Christopher Morgan (Lewis Lauder) is a bright-eyed graduate waltzing into a writing job at The Daily Star, only to be met by Simon (Calum Ferguson), an attention-starved broadsheet journalist. On his first day at his new job, Christopher receives an email detailing the ransom of Princess Beatrice. What ensues is an hour of corruption, mistaken identity and utter confusion.
Lauder and Ferguson set up a promising double-act in the opening scene. Ferguson is hilariously overbearing as Simon and proves himself an excellent comic actor. Lauder is a brilliant foil as Christopher Morgan (Piers Morgan’s nephew), nicely contrasting Simon’s over-friendly nature with a coolly sarcastic manner. Joe Walsh’s and Alex Card’s double-act as the accidental kidnappers Andy and Lee (or Laserclaw and Dragonfly) is also well-portrayed. Interchanging between stooge and comic, their comic stylings are less clear cut than Lauder and Ferguson, presenting an initially interesting dynamic between the four characters.
However, after the primary set-up, the rest of the show is largely hit and miss. While there are some really excellent one-liners, they’re often muddled within what feels like reels of improvised speech. The actors often appear directionless on stage, over explaining plot-points and quite often repeating themselves unnecessarily.
The staging is very static, with Christopher’s office on one side and the kidnappers’ hideaway on the other; complete with portaloo. As with the script, movement is often directionless, and physical action, such as the manipulation and tying up of the kidnapped ‘Beatrice,’ is largely unconvincing.
Kate Foley-Scott is appropriately feisty as Jenny Conroy after being stuck in a portaloo for half the show. However, it’s a shame to see that her character is disappointingly two dimensional, and we oddly never feel sympathy for a woman who’s been kidnapped and tied up against her will. Her harsh, sexualised manner and her absence for half the show is discouraging in a performance that seems to otherwise be bringing farce into the twenty-first century.
A Royal Flush has the potential to deliver its message of media corruption and the battle of Buzzfeed and broadsheet in a humorous yet powerful light. The key to this show is controlled havoc: A Royal Flush has the havoc down, they’re simply lacking the control.