Hilarious and Hysterical Laugh-Out Loud Comedy

Not The Horse is Naughty Corner Productions second show and on the basis that all the audience were in stitches throughout, I can’t wait to see their first let alone those that follow - and fortunately two of these follow later in the week.

The story revolves around three disparate groups - London gangsters Dom Juan (Tom Silverton), Beef (Freddie Johnson), Minge (Adam Nicholls), and Face (Michael J. Treanor); Irish travellers Archie (Niall Hogan), Hughie (Phill Bulman), Gerry (Calun Griffin), and Ernie (Callum Forbes); and hapless Scousers Tony (Nick Sheedy), Paul (Michael Hawkins), and Stan (Warren Kettle) – who are brought together around an unravelling plot involving horseracing, illegal betting, accidental theft, drug-induced hallucinations, and the collection of horse semen, although middleman Silk (Danny Carmichael), who has an answer, as well as a voice, for every occasion, goes to show that there is only ever one real winner in this tapestry of life.

The energy and commitment of the cast is beyond question and it is clear to see they are not only well-versed but also well-connected to each other and enjoying themselves. Whilst there are moments when the language is perhaps too much, the joke too repetitive, or the scene too surreal, it is their enthusiasm combined with the dexterity and skill of writer/director Mike Dickinson, that drives the play forward. Throw in a great selection of musical interludes, with accompanying choreography, and there can only be one winner: an enraptured audience who can’t contain their laughter.

But – and there has to be one sadly – it struck me quite early on that this bore too much of a passing resemblance to Guy Ritchie’s films. If Dickinson means it as a homage then he has succeeded wonderfully and such comparison should not detract from what is his clear ability with line and language through the very-intended and funny stereotypical representations of the three groups, the clever one liners, and a clearly well thought out script in which each and every member of the cast has been given a well-developed role to perform and to which each has risen with great aplomb and evident personal satisfaction on the basis of tonight’s performance, including Sam Walton’s late special appearance as Andy Mad.

Naughty Corner Productions is a Liverpool-based Theatre company formed in 2013 by two Edge Hill University Drama graduates, who create a genre busting selection of original theatre productions by collaborating with the best up and coming actors and performers around. Further details can be found at http://naughtycornerproductions.com/

unitytheatre is Liverpool's small-scale theatre with big ambitions to showcase challenging, innovative, risky and unusual work. Further details on this and their work with the local community can be found at www.unitytheatreliverpool.co.uk

Not The Horse is showing at Unity Theatre on 19th, 20th, and 22nd July at 7.30pm. Tickets are priced at £12 (£10 concessions) and are available at http://www.unitytheatreliverpool.co.uk/basket/593-not-the-horse.html or via the Box Office on 0151 709 4988.

Naughty Corner Productions have two further productions at unitytheatre this week. Church Blitz, their fourth production, is on 21st July 7.30pm and The British Idles, their fifth production, is on 22nd July at 3.00pm. Tickets for both shows are priced at £12 (£10 concessions) and available via http://www.unitytheatreliverpool.co.uk/whats-on.html or via the Box Office on 0151 709 4988.

Reviewer: Mark Davoren

Reviewed: 18th July 2017