Stack

Mix together a dollop of Alan Partridge, a squirt of Bear Grylls and a spoonful of Stephen Toast and what do you get? Celebrity explorer, Stackard Banks! Stack is a hilarious comedy, following the journey of narcissistic adventurer Stackard Banks on his madcap quest to the Amazon rainforest.

Consistently wacky, the script includes some lovely satirical winks

Ed MacArthur, who plays the titular role, is an outstanding comic performer. When onstage, he exudes supreme confidence and ad-libs with the audience with supreme ease - a trait to be admired in the greatest comedians.

Alongside MacArthur's superb performance comes an excellent script, featuring incredibly sharp writing. Consistently wacky, the script includes some lovely satirical winks as well: Banks bemoaning the "bloody EU!" negatively impacting his friend's psoriasis is a particular highlight.

The technical aspects of the show are fairly simple, yet effective. The way the lights melodramatically turn red every time Banks utters the name of his arch nemesis or the silly use of projections - often featuring the rotating head of MacArthur - greatly enhances the comedy in this production. A particular mention should also go to the sound. The use of recorded interjections is an ingenious addition to the piece, highlighting Banks' narcissism and cleverly providing MacArthur with something to bounce off.

My only real criticism was that some of the jokes seem a little worn by the end of the show's hour long running time: Sting's interjected non sequiturs or the gentle jibes at drama schools are a couple of gags stretched too far. Were MacArthur to bring the show to other venues across the UK (which I hope he does), a bit of judicious pruning could help make an already sharp script, sharper still.

Certainly, though, this show is a must-see for fans of musical comedy: it's incredibly silly and will have you laughing out loud. Grab a pint, settle down, and enjoy the ride.  

Reviews by Alan Stewart

Assembly George Square Studios

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★★★★
Paradise in The Vault

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★★★
Spotlites

Chinese Women’s Whispers

★★★
Bedlam Theatre

Stack

★★★★
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★★★
Zoo Southside

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

This very silly musical comedy play, from award-winning Ed MacArthur, follows Stackard Banks, celebrity explorer, on a madcap Amazonian expedition that will change his life forever. ‘Fast-paced comic storytelling… a genuinely funny piece of theatre’ **** (BroadwayBaby.com). **** (Scotsman). **** (FreshAir.co.uk).