Betrayal of Penguins: Don't Run with Scissors

Betrayal of Penguins got some rave reviews for their Fringe appearance last year, so I was looking forward to seeing what was being presented this time. Featuring Irish duo, Ross Dungan and Matthew Smyth, Don’t Run with Scissors is a comedy narrative set in the final episode a long running kids TV show.But in the studio things aren’t going to plan. While parodying the homespun friendly advice of early Blue Peter, with sections in the show on arts & craft and storytime, we start to understand why it is to be cancelled (accidental blowing up of a guest and other stories of incompetence). The cracks in Ross and Matt’s relationship are exposed and a bomb threat delivered, meaning the boys have to keep on performing or we will all be blown up. Along with the presenters, a penguin is present through out at the side of the stage, and periodically holds up instructions to the audience. His role as the third presenter is not clear – he is acknowledged and talked to but not allowed to talk himself. The action moves from live on stage to pre-recorded video slots, with various other characters from the TV studio introduced through the filmed elements, including a junior reporter who gets caught up in the bomb-related action from an outside broadcast. This reporter is played very well, his wide-eyed panic and horror captured delightfully. A ‘policeman’ who looks and sounds like he has dropped in from an episode of Miami Vice is present on screen and in the flesh to save the day. There’s no doubting Dungan and Smyth’s comic acting talents and energy but the plot gets confused and the show just isn’t slick enough yet, meaning that the whole thing doesn’t hold together for me. While the audience (a mix of families and adults) certainly seemed to have had lots of fun, but the show could do with some tightening up of the writing and direction to make it shine.

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The Blurb

After last year's sell-out run, 'A Betrayal of Penguins' is back, presenting a kids' TV show that's doomed to fail. Come see the next big thing of Irish comedy. 'Unmissable'**** (List), 'Excellent' **** (ThreeWeeks).

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