I’ve probably read less than a handful of books more than once, seen a few films sufficient to know what’s coming next, sat with BBC’s The Young Ones enough to be able to recite nigh on every single brilliant line (whether you want me to or not – it’s like a comedy tick lodged in the brain) but I can hand on heart say that I have never seen a piece of theatre three times and still cried my eyes out with laughter. Until now.
Theatre Orchard and Tropicana Theatre’s Autumn/Winter season is a train of gifts for Weston-super-Mare and it’s a huge relief to see so many locals jump on it. We’ve already had Luke Wright, Living Spit and Spitz and Co, the latter not once but twice. Twice! What did we do to deserve that? Here last month with the belly achingly funny Gloriator, Pauline Morel and Susie Donkin last night had us roaring with Glorilla, a ridiculous story about animal communication and just one series of moments in the life of a famous actress.
Since accidentally catching this Anglo-French comedy duo at Bristol Old Vic’s essential ‘Ferment’ in early 2014 with an embryonic Glorilla, Mark and I have become Gloria Delaneuf (Morel) and Josie Cunningham (Donkin) groupies (is there a theatre equivalent or is that a catch-all noun?). That foetus has become a beautiful bouncing baby and, we feel, it will continue to grow, assessing its surroundings, adapting to its audience, projectile vomiting over whoever is fortunate enough to be sitting so close.
These women are practised slapstick. They are huge white underpants. They are exasperating. They are incorrigible flirts. They are silly in the extreme. They are sexy gorilla. They are an inspiration. My ten year old and her friend were, again, the only kids in the audience and, although this isn’t billed as a family show, it’s got enough sophisticated Carry-on style humour to have everyone creased up. Their favourite bits were the sex scene and penis (yeah, don’t take children if you’re not OK with that; it’s billed as 11+ so please don’t tell). “What was yours, Mum?” The off-yer-face on tropical sap hallucinations, maybe? Or the best joke containing the name of psychedelic rock band I’ve ever heard? The ‘I’m bored now” face pushed up against the tent window? Donkin’s pronunciation of Kungalunga Jungle? Morel’s dance moves?
I may write to Teresa May and François Holland and demand that they sit hand in hand to witness Glorilla so they know what is really possible when two nations unite for the common good of everyone. And when Donkin and Morel are National Treasures, we will be able to say, “Remember when we saw them at the Trop?”
Find out more about Spitz & Co here
Tropicana Theatre still have lots of shows in their autumn/winter season
Image by Mark Dawson, with thanks