After a sell out run last year the Great British Mysteries return to the Fringe with a new show set 400 years earlier, but still the containing the wit, charm, and ridiculous sense of silliness that make it more than a worthy successor to the groups earlier stellar work.
The play’s greatest advantage is its insistence to not take itself seriously at any point.
Set in a very historically inaccurate 1599, we follow a crack duo of mystery hunters. Former explorer turned dim witted aristocrat Lord Teddy and the hyper intelligent ex-country girl turned detective Olive Bacon. Together they solve the most difficult mysteries of Tudor London, but when a case with the whiff of the supernatural lands on their desk, they discover the darkest mysteries are much closer to home than they could ever imagine.
The play’s greatest advantage is its insistence to not take itself seriously at any point. From the first moments on stage our double act demonstrate a fantastic commitment to being as silly as humanly possible and this was rewarded by having the audience rolling in the aisles for the entirety of the performance. It felt like our performers were trying to average a joke or gag per minute and this relentless pace highetened the already considerable amount of manic energy flying through the room. Aiding in this silliness is the show’s absurd and irreverent tone. Reveling in its many many historical inaccuracies and illogical non sequiturs, demonstrating their complete commitment to comedy over any sense of historic immersion. This was all achieved by two superb comedic performances from Will Close and Rose Robison. Close shows no fear in his ability to embarrass himself in playing the witless but loveable fool Teddy, and has enough camp bravado and bumbling charm to make him feel like a young Robert Webb. Whilst Robison's Olive is a perfect counterpoint to her foolish partner, landing witty one liners and punchlines in response to Teddy’s stupidity that had the audience, and admittedly myself, in hysterics.
The duo's relentless commitment to jokes at all costs can on occasion miss the mark. The machine gun approach to comedy means that there are going to be a few duds amongst the bullseyes and a few of the running gags outstay their welcome by the end of the show. These are, however, small potatoes for what is an otherwise excellent comedic performance that will have have you wiping tears from your eyes as you leave the auditorium.