Harry Kershaw, Chris Leask, Tom Walker and Bryony Corrigan in Good Luck, Studio – Photos by Pamela Raith
Good Luck, Studio, Mercury Theatre, until October 15. 01206 573948. www.mercurytheatre.co.uk
I don’t think there could be a more perfect play for the times we are living in at the moment.
Mischief, the people behind The Play That Goes Wrong and the Comedy About A Bank Robbery, have not only produced a gut achingly funny piece of farce, which makes you guffaw with the loudest of belly laughs, they’ve also served up a dark, reflective piece of humanity, which leaves a little lump in your throat.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with two hours of pure escapist nonsense, and those wanting to escape the world for a little bit could do no better than this. Let’s be honest, we all need a bloody good laugh at the moment, and thank the theatrical Gods for this piece of theatre because it properly wipes away the blues.
But sometimes, especially in times like these, frivolity seems a little self-indulgent, and so what makes Good Luck, Studio, so utterly, utterly brilliant, is that is it also, very briefly, gently slaps you in the face with a dose of dark reality, a dollop of sentimental poignancy which takes this play to a whole new level.
Take the ending itself (which obviously I cannot reveal), and after your sides have stopped jerking, when you contemplate what has actually happened, the exact ramifications of the situation, a little tear appears in your eye, and you think, ‘blimey, I’m a ruddy lucky bleeder to live the life I have.’
May be that was just me, but it made the piece so much more important than just an evening of hilarity and ridiculousness.
Set in a children’s television studio during the last few minutes of the filming of a ‘terrible’ kids show, there are lots of typical Mischief set pieces, including one scene straight from the oeuvre of the likes of Keaton, Lloyd and Chaplin, updated with a nod to modern technology – you’ll see what I mean when you watch it.
There’s also very clever uses of time and place (going into too much detail would spoil the surprise and fun), made even more glorious by the set and costumes by designer Sara Perks, a favourite with Mercury audiences over the years – who could ever forget that World War I trench in Journey’s End!
But perhaps best of all is the script; brutal witty one-liners, often delivered with Jonathan Pie-esque aplomb by Pie creator, actor Tom Walker; wonderful random ramblings of stream of consciousness from the likes of writer Sean (Harry Kershaw), and even homages to the great Bard himself, although in the hands of ageing old actor, Anthony (a brilliant performance by Adam Byron) perhaps I should call them ‘ham’ages.
It’s the kind of play that might just save theatre itself, which I know is a ridiculously grandiose thing to say, but those in the industry know, we need to get people back into the stalls, and if anything’s going to do that, Good Luck, Studio is it.
After its too brief run here in Colchester, and dates in Salisbury and Guildford, it would be an absolute travesty if it didn’t follow its Mischief cousins into the West End.
But then we are living in strange times my friends.
Good Luck, Good Luck, Studio, you flipping well deserve all the accolades, plaudits and roaring success that this production deserves