Vulcan 7 – Theatre Royal Bath REVIEW

Adrian Edmondson and Nigel Planer were once ‘The Young Ones’ but are now washed up reject actors, sat backstage on a film set for ‘Vulcan 7’ in Iceland. Joined by Lois Chimimba as Leela, their film runner, this three man play is also co-written by the comedy duo.

I found the show entertaining but often only raised quiet titters and chuckles rather than full belly laughs. It certainly had its moments for comedy, but some of jokes did fall flat. It was the comedy and fantastic script between with the two “dinosaurs” that this production relied on so heavily.

The lack of plot left the audience without direction or lesson. The story is… well it’s hard to say… is it about the artistic battles of an actor? Is it about the backstory between the two old friends who are thrust together on the set of a sci-fi film? Maybe both, or even something else I’ve missed. But this doesn’t make the production bad, just simply lacking clear vision.

In the second half it seems the focus is shifted away from the pair and onto the third character Leela. There is a development causing both the men to claim Leela as their daughter, who up until this point had been a tool to move the play along.

Lois Chimimba, who plays Leela, has her work cut out acting with two greats like Planer and Edmondson and I felt her characterisation was a little forced at times, but she eventually relaxed into the role by the end.

This chemistry and back and forth between the characters Gary and Hugh is what kept the production interesting. Each character with their own strengths and weaknesses Gary and Hugh pick away at each other until they are left slumped on the furniture, full of wine and lament.

With things not really getting going until the second act it seemed the Icelandic tectonic plates had more movement than the plot but nonetheless this is a great opportunity to see two brilliant actors in an amusing and bizarre world. 

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