Casting one’s mind over the great theatrical titles of our time, there are very few which can compete with the concept suggested by the name of this play by Tale Gate Theatre. Toilet humour has always been a reliable way to make children giggle, but this 45 minute piece covers more than that. Indeed, the piece is surprisingly well written by the company to the extent that there are a great number of lines and moments that will have the accompanying adults chuckling too.
An overwhelmingly upbeat production which cannot fail to raise a smile.
With a brightly-lit backdrop and the music of Abba blaring out at full volume, this early morning performance is guaranteed to wake up even the sleepiest of spectators. With such an introduction, the onus is well and truly on the cast to maintain the energy created. Very swiftly establishing the basic premise – the titular giant loo roll has appeared in the town – performers James Worthington and Rhianon Smith, each playing an array of caricatured figures signified by exaggerated accents and costumes straight from a particularly colourful pantomime wardrobe, endear themselves to young and old alike with their bouncy song and dance routines and slick exchanges of dialogue.
The piece is a lesson in resourcefulness, with many of the characters finding a new and productive use for the enormous sheets of toilet paper now in their possession. A particular high point sees Smith as a stereotypically depicted French portrait artist. Her joyful accent and natural propensity as a performer to connect with the audience ensures that her episode of audience participation passes without a glitch. Similarly, Worthington’s facial expressions as a dancing headmaster are endlessly amusing.
These are just small sections in a piece which never stands still for long. Constantly introducing new characters, music and situations, the performance never stagnates, while still maintaining the space for audience members to learn simple lyrics and join in with repeated musical numbers. There are other surprises which will delight the children; I don’t want to give too much away but let’s just say I’m lucky to have finished this review seeing as my notes were rendered almost illegible by a sudden shower of water midway through.
It is worth noting that as the performance gathers momentum throughout, its success is to some extent quite reliant on how willing the audience are to participate. However, this is an overwhelmingly upbeat production which cannot fail to raise a smile.