Art and crime collide in a ‘brush with the law’ from Laughing Mirror. In this lively comedy, Ashley Lancaster, a foolish and inept criminal, longs to become a wanted man. Unfortunately, he lacks the skill to catch the attention of the police or the papers. His previous venture to steal the London Eye with a hammer and chisel has done little to aid his reputation. When the Mona Lisa arrives in London on a cultural exchange, Ashley decides to seize his chance at notoriety by stealing the work. However, he finds that his challenge is not only with the law, but a band of art collectors who are also after the masterpiece.
A fantastic pace jolts this show to life as two heists are planned and put into action.
A fantastic pace jolts this show to life as two heists are planned and put into action. However, a lack of polish with regards to physicality dominates the scenes. Slapstick sequences are withheld from their comic potential due to clumsy and awkward movement. There are amusing performances amongst the cast, such as Bread and Butter, a pair of dim-witted policemen who can’t get anything right. However, the acting is mostly frantic and imprecise, thus instilling a sense of messiness into the production.
Framed! is at its funniest in sharp moments of sudden wordplay. Unfortunately, some of the other comedy is less successful. There are frequent attempts to evoke humour from the pure absurdity of a situation, which doesn’t quite work. A policeman drawing torture implements from his part-time job at Mothercare is notably underwhelming, no matter how many times the gag is repeated. The script contains a number of smart quips, but ultimately struggles to sustain a fifty minute performance.
Framed! is certainly not a lost cause. Children at the performance seemed delighted by its farce and the threads of the story tie together in a witty conclusion. However, to compete with the abundance of comedy at the festival, this show needs some refinement.