Squirrel Party
  • By Tom King
  • |
  • 21st Aug 2011
  • |
  • ★★★★

It’s a funny thing - children’s TV has changed a lot recently. Japanimated cartoons flood the schedules, entire channels devoted to them. But amongst the Ben 10s and Transformers, a very British genre still survives - activities shows, populated with perky presenters and things to make and do. This is the world of Squirrel Party.Taking the Blue-Peter format and injecting a note of tension underneath is fairly well-trodden comedic ground but York-based troupe Reptile House keep the action fresh through sheer energy. Host Chesley Chippenham has been given an ultimatum: get the ratings up or the show’s cancelled. This is easier said than done when he’s trying to stop his wife - Crafty Cath - from running away with the show’s resident tough-guy Andyman the Handyman, dealing with racist puppets and drugged-up singers and being preyed upon by a sex pest.The key to success with a show like this is committing one hundred percent to the characters which, largely, the cast do, going as far as to do their get-out still in character. And these characters are mostly pretty well drawn, the writing sharp. One exception is Granger the Danger Stranger, a bizarre and uncomfortable comedy pervert, but he’s balanced out by much funnier characters like wise (senile) old Grandfather Owl and canine dictator Slobberydog Milosevic. And setting these characters free to wreak havoc as they reproduce the pottery wheel scene from Ghost with PVA glue or ponder the mediocrity of the Republic of Chad makes for a very entertaining hour.Squirrel Party may not be a miraculously original concept but it’s funny, well-written and invigorating. A good start to a good night out in Edinburgh.

Reviews by Tom King

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★★★
Underbelly, Cowgate

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★★★
The Stand Comedy Club 3 & 4

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★★★★
Traverse Theatre

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★★★
CanadaHub @ King's Hall in association with Summerhall

Famous Puppet Death Scenes

★★★★
Assembly George Square Gardens

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The Blurb

The 1990s kids' TV extravaganza that never was! Join host Chesley Chippenham alongside a demented cavalcade of educational misfits ranging from Crafty Cath and Grandfather Owl to Slobberydog Milosovitch. A children's show that is not suitable for children.