☆★★★★ A Slice of Eel Pie
The blurb for A Slice of Eel Pie describes the play as ‘dark and hilarious'. In my opinion, that's an understatement - it's black and outrageous, and a great deal more! From the moment we first meet brothers, Pony and Meatball, we are drawn instantly into another world: mystery, murder, mayhem, cross-dressing, slicing, and the most divine bad language! And, let me warn you, no word remains unsworn!
Leslie Ann Albiston, writer, director and producer, has created a madcap snapshot of life in the hedonist ‘60s focusing on Eel Pie Island, a small ait on the Thames near Twickenham. An epicentre of hippiedom and the burgeoning permissive society, the story revolves around a group of diverse characters caught up with the fallout from dope-induced free love. Quickly becoming a tragi-comedy, we discover the implications of actions that span several decades. That all sounds a bit of a serious ask but is, in fact, a seriously funny, uproarious, slightly uncomfortable farce that explores/exposes the joys of familial confusion and identity. But no more spoilers here!
With a stellar cast featuring actors from diverse disciplines – theatre, comedy, stand-up, film - A Slice of Eel Pie is truly funny. Expertly crafted, madcap and well-observed performances create cleverly-written mayhem. Malcolm Jefferies as Pony cross-dresses with evil aplomb and an even more evil wardrobe, ably assisted by Neil Cole as Meatball, a deranged psychopath with a penchant for swearing and slicing! Dannie Gold and Hraban Layat as hapless Detectives Gold and Harris are traditional farcical policemen. King is pure gold as she joyously speaks French badly at every opportunity –classic!
Rafaela Elliston as Mint Julip, Anil Desai as Noel and Marc McCardie as Sir Jasper complete the ensemble as the fundamental part of the ultimate dysfunctional family dynamic. All deliver some classic comedy moments whether it be talking about modern art, getting stoned or being an upper-class twit! Finally, Harrison Cole is manful in his portrayal of a bunny girl, brave fire-fighter and omnipresent ASM!
A Slice of Eel Pie is playing at The Hen and Chickens Theatre as part of Camden Fringe and is sold out – maybe returns? It is a testament to Leslie Ann Albiston for the holistic approach to her theatre-making. And, it is a hilarious piece, cleverly constructed, expertly performed and this will not be the last time it's seen.
Part of Camden Fringe
Venue: Hen and Chickens Theatre
Started: Thursday 22 August 2019
Closes: Sunday 25 August 2019
Address: 109 St Paul's Road, Islington, London N1 2NA
Box office: 020 7704 2001