Quirky, Clever, Great acting, Relevant, Entertaining
About the Show
A new satirical comedy set in post-pandemic London by award-winning playwright Mike Bartlett.
Miss Phoebe Virtue launches a solo investigation into her twin brother Jack when she discovers that he may be behaving recklessly and ruining his reputation in the process. Written by Olivier Award-winner Mike Bartlett ('King Charles III', 'Earthquakes in London') and directed by Lyric Hammersmith Artistic Director Rachel O'Riordan.
Rachel O’Riordan’s production gets some strong performances from the cast, but it never descends into the level of boisterous mayhem this kind of satire needs...it's hard not to wish he'd gone out all guns blazing, railing against times that badly need a satirist's pen.
In its best moments it has the look of an expensively produced Monty Python sketch with pastiche that really is joyous. But it gets baggier as it goes on and by the end begins to resemble a flabby ITV comedy with rather too predictable jokes on Tory politicians, their partying and policies over the pandemic.
However, there is a lot of pleasure to be had en route in Rachel O'Riordan's lively production, cleverly choreographed by Malik Nashad Sharpe. Simon Slater's music and Kinnetia Isidore's costumes mix the contemporary and the 17th century to striking effect. I smiled throughout; it's a sign of how high a bar Bartlett has set himself that I emerged vaguely disappointed.
Like so much of his recent work, Scandaltown is a promising idea in search of another draft...Rachel O’Riordan’s direction fails to add fizz, and leaves the simple yet colourful set — designed by the Good Teeth team — looking disconcertingly underpopulated at times.
...the pacing of Rachel O’Riordan’s production regularly saps the snap out of the lines. Too often, where it needs to be tight, it’s baggy...more often than not, it feels muted, lacking the fire, anger – and clarity of purpose – that fuels the best satire.