A Royal Flush

A Royal Flush is a dark political comedy turned farce, featuring a princess stuck in a portaloo and a ransoming of The Daily Star. The show begins with all the ingredients for success: an excellent premise, five great comic actors, and an astutely current political message. However, the script falls short in this production, presenting a confused stage dynamic and an unfocused message.

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.

Reviews by Ellie Coote

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

One princess locked in a Portaloo, two desperate builders-turned-kidnappers and two ambitious hack journalists… What could possibly go wrong? In this new and topical comedy, we follow the aftermath of a mistakenly lifted Portaloo – will the kidnappers get their ransom? Will the hacks get their story? Will the princess join the plot? The clock ticks, the afternoon gets hotter, the princess goes ballistic and the Skype calls grow more desperate. Come and watch our heroes – if you can figure out who they are – it’s going to be a right royal screw up!