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Friday, 25 May 2018

REVIEW: Tom and Bunny Save the World ★★★★★ at Newcastle Alphabetti

Tom and Bunny Save the World: The Musical ★★★★★
Newcastle Alphabetti Theatre
Friday 25th & Saturday 26th May 2018

Book and Lyrics: Robyn Grant
Music: Jonny Holbek
Director: Cat Robey
Producer: Laura Elmes for Fat Rascal Theatre


You wait for a musical to appear at Newcastle’s Alphabetti Theatre and two come along at once. Tom & Bunny captures the delightful comedic sense of powerful observation that made Avenue Q work so well.

Zombies have broken out of a hospital in Greenwich after an outbreak. Oxford graduate Tom (Jamie Mawson) falls over Bunny (Robyn Grant) as they try to escape the capital armed with a handy baseball bat. They decide to drive north to Yorkshire as hopefully the chaos is somewhat less up there. At a dairy farm they pick up a vet Gareth (Luke Dunford) who is trying to escape the mad farming couple.

The journey north passes Nottingham Trent University which they decide to stop off at in case there is a cure there. Ultimately they pick up pregnant scientist Pearl (Allie Munro) and gun wielding army-type Kai (Katie Wells).

News has it that the best place to point the car is Bridlington so they head off to the Yorkshire sea side town in the hope of saving the world from the zombie apocalypse.   

Indeed – why wouldn’t hope be found in Brid? If this was made for TV or film there is a strong chance they would swing the destination to the south east or, at a push, Blackpool. The Yorkshire angle adds a fun, and unexpected angle, to proceedings. Writer Robyn Grant has given the show a distinctive and fresh feel. Much of the dialogue is well-observed and contemporary. There are political and social issues there to be found but not at a level that is either preachy or distracting from the main thrust of the plot.

It is a musical. The early plot narration and guitar playing duties land on James Boyd, who also plays Mike – the person watching the CCTV footage of the apocalypse. The folky edge to the music helps to tell the tale. The songs are sung with such energy and gusto, it is difficult not to be carried away with the action. The cast recording was on sale for £5 and we picked up a copy which is currently playing as this review is being written.

If a test of a comedy is if you laugh out loud at least six times, then this is comfortably a comedy. The Alphabetti audience appreciate the humour derived from both the script and from Cat Robey’s direction. The cast utilised every inch of the stage to play out the Zombie tale. Obviously some comparison could be made with Shaun Of The Dead but this is much more of a road trip whereas the action in Shaun largely focuses on just a couple of locations.

T&BSTW:TM packs a real punch during its one hour running time. It’s a really funny comedy musical about zombies. The young enthusiastic cast swept us along on the journey across the UK. This is well worth a trip to the theatre!

On The Web:
Twitter: @WeAreFatRascal   
Facebook: /WeAreFatRascal

Cast:
Tom: Jamie Mawson
Bunny: Robyn Grant
Mike: James Boyd
Pearl: Allie Munro
Kai: Katie Wells
Gareth: Luke Dunford

Tickets:
When: Friday 25th and Saturday 26th May 2018
Show Begins: 7.30pm
Tickets: £6.50 Full Price / £5.00 Concession (Student, OAP, Artist, Unwaged)
Age Recommendation:12+ (contains strong language and mild violence and gore)
Running Time: 1 hour

The remaining dates of the tour:
Brewery Arts Centre, Kendal: 31st May, 8pm
Seven Arts, Leeds: 1st June, 8pm

Ilkley Playhouse: 2nd June, 7:30pm

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