Patrick Monahan is so effortlessly hilarious that the laughs creep into the room before the performance even begins
It's an extremely funny play, with an extremely funny cast. Patrick Monahan is so effortlessly hilarious that the laughs creep into the room before the performance even begins. His introductory and concluding remarks create and sustain a casual, intimate atmosphere that benefits the play immensely, particularly as it makes extensive use of monologues that directly address the audience.
Monahan and the other performers, Gary Colman, Lucy Frederick and Archie Maddocks, cope better with the monologues than they do with dialogue. They all have a way of holding attention while alone onstage, probably as a result of most of them being stand-up comedians in their own rights. Monahan, particularly hypnotic, joins the audience a few times during his speeches, sitting in empty chairs and touching shoulders. It's classic audience participation, but it doesn't feel contrived - it works very well, as it maintains the intimate air that helps bring so much humour to the show.
When the performers are acting together, though some scenes do work well and display a good degree of playful chemistry between those onstage, many others drag and seem to have no purpose, or are somewhat repetitive in their humour.
Generally, this is a play where humour comes first and message takes a back seat, although occasionally it pops its head above the parapet and makes a social comment. Likewise, the plot seems of secondary importance for some time before it accelerates suddenly, culminating in an almost farcical finish. On these terms it largely succeeds - it's genuinely funny, and captures an atmosphere that you'll rarely find in a full-scale, commercial theatre.