As the bombastic theme tune starts playing, waves of nostalgia roll across the audience. The nineties children’s game show is back and naffer than ever! Gunge, games, and grown-ups prove a winning formula. Add crazed presenter Dave Benson Phillips into the mix and you’ve got yourself a comeback hit.
The nostalgia so widespread among nineties kids is well and truly satisfied.
Before action commences the audience is faced with a stage, bare except for a plastic goo-shower contraption. The giant vat from the original TV show is nowhere in sight and initially I’m underwhelmed. The sound effects are tacky and the games are ridiculously simplistic – teams compete to see who can put a duvet cover on a duvet the quickest, who can make a pyramid stack of cups the quickest, and who can get as many specific items off the audience the quickest. A competition with the audience just involves a game of heads or tails. But it doesn’t take long to appreciate this show for what it is - a children’s show. The format’s simplicity is its genius.
Get Your Own Back seems almost inconceivable without Phillips. He’s like a camp, slightly embarrassing uncle trying to make the kids laugh at a wedding. And because of the affection in the room, everyone is happy to indulge him with enthusiastic, half-ironic applause, laughter, and shouts of ‘yes Dave!’ Phillips is hilariously self-deprecating, constantly telling us, ‘I used to be on TV you know.’ His energy is at maximum wattage throughout and he is a natural entertainer.
The stage version has meant a few changed rules from the TV version. Apparently, when they sent out a request for children to enter with their unruly parents, there were no responses. So we had two adult teams- fringe performers versus TV presenters from STV, both teams allowed a quick plug at the start. Other signs of change come at the end of the show when the audience is invited to record the gunging on their phones and spread it via social media.
It’s hard to go wrong with gunge, and with Get Your Own Back you know exactly what you’re getting. The nostalgia so widespread among nineties kids is well and truly satisfied. As Phillips would say, ‘this one’s a doozy.’