Stand and Deliver

It's 1736, George II is on the throne, witchcraft laws are being appealed and the British Empire was starting to take shape. It's also the age of the highwayman; thieves who terrorised the roads on horseback and with pistols, ready to cry out "stand and deliver, your money or your life!" Its this lone ranger figure, improbably romanticised over the years, which is the focus of Tobacco Tea Theatre Company's Stand and Deliver.

Good fun and a pleasant enough distraction for an afternoon's entertainment, but ultimately no more satisfying than a packet of crisps.

If you were to imagine what an afternoon in the theatre would be like, this wouldn't be far off the mark. There are elaborate costumes which wouldn't look out of place at a fancy dress party, brilliantly choreographed fight scenes and plenty of props. After a slow start, it picks up pace and allows the cast to have plenty of fun with Christopher Cutting's script. The entire cast bring real life and energy to the stage. They have been well directed as their timing is impeccable and they know exactly how to wring a laugh by pulling an amusing grimace or producing a knowing retort. They're good company and its easy to enjoy time spent in their presence.

Yet, it felt like something was missing. The satire lacked real bite, the action lacked real gore, the jokes provoked smirks and smiles rather than belly laughs. For the most part, it seemed sanguine enough for family entertainment, befitting of its afternoon slot. After all, a lot of the comedy is physical and key jokes centre round a taxidermy lobster and hobby horses. A scene in a carriage where the two occupants bounced up and down with vigour, reflecting the bumpy ride and poor suspension, was hardly original but still managed to be very funny. However, other scenes were surprising violent (although red light stands in for blood, no need to fear if gore isn't for you) and the language was occasionally strong enough to dissuade any parents from wanting to bring younger viewers. It felt like the production always chose the middle of the road way, attracting a broad audience, but without truly pleasing anyone. Perhaps it was just a bit too ambitious with such a large collection of characters and alternating storylines.

As soon as I left the Rialto and stepped into the warm Saturday sunshine, the show seemed to melt from my mind like a dream. Good fun and a pleasant enough distraction for an afternoon's entertainment, but ultimately no more satisfying than a packet of crisps. Enjoyable enough at the time, but quickly forgotten.

Reviews by Elanor Parker

The Living Record

Petrichor

★★★★
St Mary's Church

Geoff Robb: The Music of Trees

★★★★
Brighton Spiegeltent

Frills and Spills

★★★★
The Living Record

Broken Link

★★★
4 Rigden Road

About The Garden

★★★
The Space

The Black Cat

★★★

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

Location

The Blurb

In 1736 two dandy highwaymen plan the heist of the century. Can they steal the taxidermy lobster and save Britain from the nefarious schemes of a corrupt political establishment? Witty, fast-paced, over-the-top action-comedy about finding your true self and defying your masters, from the makers of 'The Accidental Adventures of Sherlock Holmes'. ***** (Theatre Bath)

Most Popular See More

Dear Evan Hansen

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Come From Away

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Wicked

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Pretty Woman: The Musical

From £18.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Play That Goes Wrong

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Mary Poppins

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets