Red Cape Black Cape Theatre’s Lions + Tigers + Bears is a strong on laughs but there is something that makes this a very imperfect production. On paper it should work 5 performers taking on multiple roles (the press release says 40 but it didn’t seem that many) in this dark comedy about The Bogeyman.
Whilst the various sketches provide laughs they go on far too long and there doesn’t seem to be an aim. The five performers begin and end the show with dancing, looking like they are having a far better time than the audience and it sums up for student production feel, which is fine on a summer’s afternoon in Edinburgh but the London fringe scene is better and stronger than this.
It isn’t all bad, the performers are strong particularly Chloe Borthwick, who has real comic range; Georgia Mae Wilkinson who is a great physical performer and Reece Connolly who’s interval character was delightful but as a production it feels like a real struggle. The laughs just aren’t enough for sketches that go on too long and crucially sketches that feel like they are naughtier than they are.
For example, the Myra Hindley/Ian Brady sketch is let down by a poor Scottish accent from Connolly and not enough balls to come out and say it is Myra Hindley and Ian Brady, is this a cultural reference many in the performers age group will get or do these young actors want a show that appears to be people in their fifties. It desperately needs tightening up and it is a real shame to see such comic potential lost in overlong and unfunny sketches. The ending isn’t even funny enough to justify to the previous sketches. It needs to be wacky for this idea to work but there is too much dark and not enough comedy. It wants to be The League of Gentlemen but there just isn’t the story or range of characters for that to work.