Mischief Theatre has delighted us for years with their productions of The Play That Goes Wrong, Peter Pan Goes Wrong and A Comedy About A Bank Robbery, but their newer production of Groan Ups is a little different.
If you’ve seen one of their previous shows you’ll be expecting unique humour and well-executed jokes but Groan Ups takes a different approach.
As it embarks on its first UK tour, the more straightforward observational comedy play, Groan Ups, follows a group of children at age 6, age 14 and in their thirties at a school reunion.
It may not be as slick or as distinctive as their other productions but you have to admire their boldness to try something new.
It is, of course, a really very funny production and you’ll giggle your way through the evening. Written by three of the original cast members Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields, there are plenty of nostalgic moments with 00s music, Nokia ring tones and cringe-worthy slang.
The jokes don’t feel quite as fresh and new as other productions and without the element of physical slapstick, which is Mischief’s clear strength, the company are relying on their weaker skills to get the laughs.
This show also attempts to be more thoughtful with its writing than previous productions, with less ‘going-wrong’ and more meaningful moments. Character traits and plot strands seen when they’re running around a classroom age 6, reveal themselves at the reunion, making for an awkward social event and a few too many squashed hamsters.
The five characters are the ultimate stereotypes, Simon the dork (Matt Cavendish), Katie the swot (Lauren Samuels), Moon the posh popular one (Yolanda Ovide), Spencer the buffoon (Dharmesh Patel) and Archie the uptight nervous one (Daniel Abbott).
Watch along as they explore the complexities of childhood, adolescence and adulthood, feeling every cringe, moment of glee and heartbreak with them. This format is a wonderful way to feel very close to and fond of a character as you watch them grow, develop and learn.
For a daft look into how life all gets a little bit more complex as we grow up, look no further than this now-touring production.
Groan Ups runs at the Theatre Royal Bath until August 21st.