Well-written, though lacking in some areas, Out to Lunch is an enjoyable watch for anyone interested in a slice of wacky humour. The play opens to a washed-up food critic trying to write a review so scathing it kills someone - the perfect premise. Let's hope this review does not come to imitate its subject matter.
An enjoyable watch for anyone interested in a slice of wacky humour
The best part is undoubtedly the writing along with the performance of the protagonist, Marcus Tuckwell, played by Fabian Bevan. The character is deliciously delectable, and Bevan portrays this almost flawlessly. Hughie Shepherd-Cross’ writing is witty while also being bonkers in its exaggeration and reworking of sayings. This is perfect for the main character but falls short for the others. Emily Cairns’ Angie and Sam Scruton’s Jeremy (or Jezzer) are not as exuberant as Tuckwell, but they equally are not completely deadpan, which would have emphasised the comedy of the protagonist’s absurdity. While they both have some great moments they would benefit from having their parts more fully fleshed out, as is the case with Tuckwell.
Nathan Brown's songs fit the bill and musically are OK to listen but never reach the level of being outstanding. Their lyrics, however, are quite humorous, but they would perhaps better serve as quickly delivered dialogue rather than as song with long pauses. In their curent form they seem to heavily slow the pace of the action, though Cairns’ performance of a song discussing newspapers and magazines is well-sung and acted.
Other highlights are the ironic ending, and the use of a shadow screen, wherein Scruton and Bevan play snivelly and pretentious critics, both perhaps more farcical than Tuckwell. It's a satisfactory production that with some reworking has the potential to lift itsef to the next level and could even be excellent.