Brains, Theatre N16
Thick and Thin’s comedy about a zombie outbreak and the pharma industry feels like an extended comedy sketch but it has a lot of potential to be a funny and clever look at healthcare in a capitalist world.
MediBite provides expensive medicine to those who are desperate to avoid the ‘contamination’ and Harry (Aaron Parsons) is on cocaine to get through the day as he juggles his ball busting boss Ursula (Stephanie Overington, whose red and black outfit I crave for all my businesswoman doing business needs) and his useless intern and niece Tina (Aine Nettleton). The sales reports as compiled by the awkward Jeff, played by Jack Dent. When MediBite scientist Stu (Tom Spencer) thinks he has a cure it triggers a mob, who have been alerted by a tweet but who could have told them?
It is very over the top but I was desperate for it to be campy and embrace its small space, in a similar vein to the stage adaptation of Shock Treatment in 2015 but with it’s single setting an office (a very outdated offices from 80s/90s) it fails to build the energy or even claustrophobia when the mob arrive, even some decent sound effects would have helped but it has some funny lines and it is a clever look at Big Pharma conspiracies (“They will never cure cancer because it makes them money etc etc), the issue of privatised medicine (represented by a underwritten and sluggish performance from Jo Mance as Rosie) and how quickly social media can spread but ultimately this is a good idea for a sketch extended prematurely into a play.
There’s some debatable blocking choices by director and writer Cameron Szerdy but this is an early production from Thick and Thin, following 2016 shows Toxicity and Slight Delay and they are getting off to the right start, showing potential and clever ideas. I particuarly enjoyed Parsons as the stressed, Gordon Gecko like salesman and Spencer as scientist Stu, who really shone in the two-hander scenes he had with Parsons and Dent and actually looked the part of scientist Stu.
BRAINS was on at Theatre N16 betweeen January 11-14 but news of their upcoming productions will be on their website http://www.thickandthintheatre.com/