Spoofs divide people. Some remember Airplane fondly, others have never made it past the opening credits. If the phrase and don’t call me Shirley makes you smirk then you should have a 10:45am appointment at the Gothic room at The Three Sisters in Edinburgh. Written by twins Michael and Paul Clarkson and Gemma Hurley, Death Ship 666 has transferred from a successful preview season at the Courtyard in London.
Set on a half-finished ship called Death Ship 666 the action follows the passengers and captain as they head off on the Death Ship’s maiden voyage. The destination is the Bermuda Triangle. Once the voyage starts those passengers who hadn’t spotted the omens quickly have an inkling that things might not end well. ‘If we cast off, this ship will sink,’ advises the Architect, but the captain is not for turning, merely placing radiators at the front of the ship and turning them up to melt any approaching icebergs. The writers have had great fun spoofing Titanic, and the cast exude enthusiasm as things get more and more convoluted.They all put in a lot of hard work, the play has a frenetic pace and each actor plays several parts. I won’t try to explain the plot more than to say go with it and you will have a ball. You may have to attribute more intelligence and manual dexterity to certain hairy animals who like porridge than you have in the past, but really, who knows what a well-educated, vengeful bear is capable of?
I wonder if the name will attract the all people who will enjoy the play. Death Ship 666 has overtones of scifi to me, and it would be a shame if comedy fans are put off. It’s not scifi, it’s a tale of bears and evil electricians, dynamite and evil laughs. It’s silly in all the best ways, light hearted, and deliciously absurd.
I went to the first show of the Edinburgh run, which was a slick affair with no missed lines or fluffed entrances. Logistics must have been more complicated than the preview version as the stage only had one exit, but the cast adapted well. Judging by the laughter the audience loved the show, the highlight being a spoof of Les Mis that came from nowhere and reached a crescendo of humorous lyrics, the cast singing of their solidarity against the bears. (Don’t ask. It makes perfect sense if you see the play. Sort of.)
Go with a very willing suspension of disbelief and get ready to laugh. It’s free, so get there early, they’re attracting very full houses.