The reason to go and see
Don’t Wake the Damp’s silliness overtakes its sentiment
Spending an hour in a room with Kill The Beast is akin to spending rain-day playtime with the four most hyper people in your class – explanations are elaborate (borderline nonsensical), but paralleled with surprisingly well-choreographed numbers. ‘The Damp Is Rising’, where the team make the most of their screens-on-wheels set-up, is performed to a West End standard and, like the bacteria itself, lingers for a while after it’s introduced. Character Terry, who leads the number, strikes the perfect balance – here, and throughout – between simple and sinister. Unfortunately, confusion is to be had where the others play characters both in the TV show past and the tower block present. A lack of clarity turns what could be a quirky, multi-layered plot into a perplexing one. Like a coconut – what’s inside is not the most robust and actually comes out flooding, at speed.
The energy with which Kill The Beast transport you, however, cannot be contested. We’re nothing if not taken back there, to a time a before, to a style of things that, no matter whether you were born in ‘55 or ‘95, is equally nostalgic. Interesting questions are posed about the merits of fandom; in a scene between June and her obsessed tower block resident, we’re encouraged to ponder why it is that society needs idols, and what happens when the veil is lifted. Whether homage or parody to the shows we loved as kids, Don’t Wake the Damp’s silliness overtakes its sentiment so any message is hard to decipher in the madness.