Out Cast Theatre return to the festival this year with their typically camp Carry On-style comedy. The cast of three perform as male divas who are roped into performing Oscar Wilde’s classic play and they have to learn to work together for it to be a success as the audience witnesses the preparation, rehearsals and the eventual outcome.
One routine is a riotous spoof of theatre styles as the actors try to inject some modernism into Wilde’s text.
It’s a fresh enough plotline on which hang increasingly bitchy one-liners and put-downs as the three actors continue to argue and disagree with each other. There are some great throwaway gags within the quickfire delivery straight from the off, but it is all played on one level: extreme camp. The characters are all one-note and once you tune into the heightened performance style, there’s very little light and shade to their characterization. It resorts to actors pulling faces to get a laugh, which is hardly in the vein of Wilde’s works.
Attempts at showing a life beyond that what we see on stage is underdeveloped, such as the report of one of the characters having an affair with a married man. One late development in the story feels more like fantasy than subplot. The less said of the duck (which seems to be wedged into the story simply to make the title funnier), the better.
However, there are plenty of things that do save the show and make the production a worthy enough viewing. One routine is a riotous spoof of theatre styles as the actors try to inject some modernism into Wilde’s text. Around the halfway point in the production we hit a fast pace and it becomes a beautifully twisted farce as the characters begin to perform their disastrous production of Earnest. The three actors frantically bounce around the stage and off one another in a delightful, hilarious physical comedy routine.
Overall it’s a fun enough romp. If you like your comedy light, frothy, camp and bitchy then I would recommend it highly, but if you’re looking for something a bit more challenging, perhaps look elsewhere.