Review Round Up: Idiots Assemble: Spitting Image Saves the World, Birmingham Rep

Find out what is being said about the world premiere stage adaptation based on the TV series.

(c)Mark Senior

The Guardian: *** “The stage show has an advantage over its TV counterpart – seeing the puppets up close is impressive. The puppeteers are the stars of this two-hour show, deftly manipulating the cast of characters for dance numbers and slow-motion sequences (the fight scene starring Tom Cruise is a highlight).”

The Stage: *** “It’s a strange mix of incredibly topical – Nicola Sturgeon’s lines swiftly rewritten in the wake of her resignation – and weirdly dated. Are we really still expected to laugh at jokes about John Major and Edwina Currie? But the writers are all men of a certain age, so perhaps it’s no surprise to hear ageing jokes. Part of the trouble is that the dialogue is pre-recorded, so there is no sense of timing. If the audience laughs too long, it’s impossible to hear the next line.”

All That Dazzles: ** “While the production in itself is decent and there are some real funny moments, the whole narrative feels lost while some questionable inclusions left me with a bitter taste in my mouth. I wanted to love Idiots Assemble: Spitting Inage Saves The World but unfortunately I found the whole thing a bit too hard to swallow.” **** “Jokes work best when they are bantered between a few characters and there are moments where the stage is swamped with characters. This isn’t a production for everyone, and at moments it is literally digging up corpses for its comedy musical satire. But it is a total joy to behold!”

The Birmingham Press: “The brilliance of this show is in its caricature and its puppetry. Characters are instantly recognisable, with physical features and personality vividly captured in the puppets. Arms, hands and mouths are articulated, enabling movement, gestures and facial expressions. Mostly, puppets are upper body only, with the legs of puppeteers beneath. And their posing, strutting and dancing says it all. It is not long into the show before you feel you are looking at real people.”

Birmingham “It certainly pushes the boundaries of acceptable comedy, but that’s exactly what satire is supposed to use its platform for, and just what the country needs right now after all of the recent chaos. If you need a chuckle during these tough times, Spitting Image is guaranteed to turn your frown upside down.”

The Reviews Hub: **** “The choreographers of corruptible caricature, the savage savants of satire, the latex lampooners of spotlit media mayhem lunacies are back in business. Forty years on from their Central TV Sunday peak-viewing schlock and phwoar rubber-themed anarchies, they’re on a Magnificent Seven Mission led by the pint-sized Tom Cruise. Puppets on a bling, extreme mannequins make-over for the Third Millenium: it’s all refreshingly offensive in the good old-fashioned way.”

British Theatre Guide: “Overall, though, the show is slick. There are times when you forget that there are actually people controlling the puppets who almost perfectly move in time with the voiceover artists’ recordings. The 12 puppeteers rightly received a standing ovation on press night.”

Stage Talk Magazine: **** “No one came to the show for the plot, which was ludicrous but entirely immaterial to the performance. Its only purpose was as a vehicle for the satire, and in that respect it worked very well. This was again due to the energy of the cast and the freedom they had to keep the pace of the show flowing with gag after gag after gag.”

West End Best Friend: **** “This is a show that doesn’t take anything too seriously. After the start of this decade, we all need a good laugh. If you enjoy poking fun at celebrities, politicians and other famous people, this is the show for you.”

Idiots Assemble: Spitting Image Saves the World, Live on Stage will play at the Birmingham Rep  until the 11th March.  

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