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Gutted: A Revenger’s Musical

Note: This review is from 2010

Review by Steve Bennett

Danielle Ward and Martin White have followed up their 2007 cult hit Psister Pscyho with this full-blown epic musical, performed in the formidable setting of Assembly’s Ballroom by a huge cast of Fringe comedy luminaries.

Gutted is a Knockabout jet-black romp through a woman’s vengeful killing spree, as she merrily slays her way through her new husband’s family on their wedding day, taking bloody retribution for wrongs of 15 years ago to a jaunty score.

It’s like the High School Musical rendition of a Joe Orton play. Or perhaps Kind Hearts And Coronets would be a better analogy, given that the charismatic Colin Hoult – of Colin and Fergus fame, among other things – proves remarkably versatile in playing the entire Bewley family, Alec Guinness-style.

There were still teething problems at the end of the first weekend, the odd wobble in performance and, crucially, an appalling sound mix that drowned out vocals and left the odd joke inaudible, but nothing could suppress the zeal of the ensemble, which is what makes this show so appealing.

Relative unknown Helen George makes quite an impression as femme fatale Sorrow, while the Penny Dreadfuls stole every scene they are in as the sinister yet surprisingly playful threesome, urging her on. Other familiar comedy faces include Michael Legge as the delightfully batty blind vicar, rap comic Doc Brown as the earnest gardener as well as Lizzie Roper, Margaret Cabourn-Smith and Sara Pascoe in support. Plus, for fans of long-forgotten post-punk duos, Carter The Sex Machine’s Jimbob makes his Fringe debut as a louche wedding singer.

The characters are broadly drawn, and the plot straightforwardly episodic. But a judicious sprinkling of the sort of morbid, gothic humour which typifies Ward’s stand-up gives the script an edge. There are flourishes in both the production and the writing, with the line that describes the concept of sin beingso deliciously wrong you’ll remember it for a very long time.

If you like the mix of disrespectful fun with the preposterously bloody, like, perhaps, a Simpsons’ Halloween episode, this revengers’ musical is probably for you.

Review date: 10 Aug 2010
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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