Not the Horse

Almost twenty years ago, Guy Ritchie changed the landscape of British cinema with his love letter to the charismatic psychopaths of the East End underbelly Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. In doing so, he also created an entire generation of young middle-class men, swaggering around threatening to slap one another in ridiculous Mockney accents.

The pace is good and the cast admittedly give it 110% but 110% of a headache is just more of a headache.

Cards on the table, I’ve (albeit briefly) been one of those guys. I liked Lock, Stock… and you could therefore assume that I’d enjoy Not The Horse especially as it so closely sticks to the basic blueprint of a Brit gangster pic. Sadly you’d be wrong - I didn’t.

The plot follows the moronic Tony who, in a cataclysmic act of stupidity, has managed to end up a quarter of a million in debt to East End crime lord Dom Jones. His challenge, with the help of mates Paul and Stan, is to find the money before Friday or lose a rather sensitive part of his anatomy. So naturally, he plans a heist.

When I say the play sticks close to the Lock, Stock… formula, I’m really not kidding. The characters are lifted wholesale from Lock, Stock… and Snatch; the music samples songs from the film’s soundtrack, even the plot bears a strong resemblance to the lesser-known TV spin-off, Lock, Stock and Four Stolen Hooves.

I wouldn’t even mind that too much but for the fact that the resulting cut-and-shut job is presented with such a lack of charm. Sex aids are waved around for no discernible reason. One of the longest scenes revolves around who’s going to ‘milk’ the horse for its pedigree semen. There is a character literally named Minge. Every single character is shouting and everyone is trying to upstage everyone else.

I should say in fairness to the cast that I can see they’ve put a lot of time, effort and energy into creating the show. What I can't really see however is any genuine way that they wrote it to amuse an audience; rather it looks to have been written just to show off. There are a few good moments though: Warren Kettle as Stan is an amusing presence and Daniel Carmichael looks the part as the imposing Vinne-Jones-a-like, Silk - but by and large this is just juvenile, derivative and irritating.

Have a couple of drinks before the show and you might have a decent laugh but see this in the cold light of day and you’ll find little to like about it. The pace is good and the cast admittedly give it 110% but 110% of a headache is just more of a headache. You want my advice? Leave it aht.

Reviews by Tom King


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The Blurb

The critically acclaimed outrageous crime comedy from the minds behind award-winning show The Bastard Queen! returns for its second year. Tony is a 20-year-old Scouser who finds himself in a labyrinth of trouble. After losing an illegal horse racing bet with a notorious group of London gangsters, Tony and his friends find themselves looking for any possible plan to come up with £250,000 in four days. After a whirlwind of ideas, accidental robbery, accidental horse tranquilisers and a lot of horse semen, Not the Horse spirals into a loud crashing finish. **** (