One of the most enjoyable experiences last year was seeing the pre-Edinburgh tryout of GUTTED: THE REVENGER'S MUSICAL at the Riverside. Owen had got tickets as his Streatham Rock God Jim Bob from Carter USM was appearing in it so I had no idea what we were letting ourselves in for, but it was a delirious treat from start to end - the only thing I can liken it to would be KIND HEARTS AND CORONETS meets THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW. A cult hit in waiting for Danielle Ward (book & lyrics) and Martin White (music).
So when we saw it was playing one night at the Leicester Square Theatre we jumped at it! This time however it was just a rehearsed reading with The Mystery Fax Machine Orchestra who took up most of the stage. I was a bit disappointed as I hoped for a proper staged production - at the Riverside there had been enough to suggest a full production.
The other reason for disappointment was that Helen George was no longer playing the lead role as at the Riverside she was terrific. I saw that she is cast in the Landor's upcoming production of BY JEEVES so maybe that explained her non-appearance. Instead the character of Sorrow was played by Isy Suttie who might fit the other's stand-up comedy style but she had a voice like a goose farting in fog and wasn't as sympathetic.
However it was easy to overlook her contribution and marvel instead at the comic timing and improvisational skill of Colin Hoult playing the five members of the Bewlay famly that Sorrow takes great delight in bumping off in ever-more outlandish ways. He was great at the Riverside and he was just as good here - real comedy gold.
The cast bristles with eccentric comedy turns: David Reed, Humphrey Ker & Thom Tuck (aka The Penny Dreadfuls) have great fun as the Furies who pursue Sorrow and Michael Legge was a lipsmacking treat as the fruity local Vicar, happy to take the wedding photos although he's blind! At the Riverside he also had the most memorable line "When you sin it's like God sticking his finger up your bum and you have to smell it for the rest of your life" but this time it was changed to "When you sin it's like God bumming your Mum and putting it on YouTube". Funny but not as good as the former.
With delightful support from Jim Bob as the Wedding Singer, Margaret Cabourn-Smith and Sara Pascoe as the Bewlay's grudging servants and the charming Doc Brown as Sorrow's possible happy ending boyfriend, the show had me laughing out loud and clapping equally as loudly at the end. Allegedly it was filmed from the back of the auditorium but I suspect that was for promotional use and I suspect that with their own stand-up schedules any future performances of GUTTED will be few and far between. But if you see it on a schedule I cannot recommend it highly enough.