Thursday, 29 March 2018

The Tales of Witchmen - Theatre Review

What: The Tales of Witchmen
When: 27 March - 1 April 2018
Where: The Butterfly Club
Created and performed by: Oliver Cowen and Kayla Hamill

Oliver Cowen and Kayla Hamill
The Tales of Witchmen is a lighthearted, pantomime romp following the quest of a Knight (Cowen) to kill Witchypoo. Along the way he is - helped? - by a range of intriguing characters played by Hamill and the whole quest takes place in the downstairs venue of The Butterfly Club.

This is a hat comedy. both Cowen and Hamill play a myriad of characters including Cabbage Girl and Owen-Megan The Vegan with an unexpected detour into a Raw Comedy parody where the hapless (and skill-less) comedy Barry Darren takes his turn on stage to be heckled by a heartless MC.

The Tales of Witchmen is very funny and well performed, with Hamill really standing out with her acting diversity across such a range of characters. Perhaps, though, this show would really take off if it was cleaned up and put in a child friendly time slot because this idea and these characters would be a hit on the theatre for children circuit. As adult comedy, the only real humour seems to come for slipping in swearing which is only funny for so long.

I did have a real problem with the first character we meet - The Boy (Hamill). I don't know why, but Hamill has chosen to portray the boy as someone with cognitive limitations and I found that very upsetting as it was pointless and rather insensitive. There was no commentary to support that choice as anything other than to be laughed at and for me this is not acceptable. I should put in a waiver here that my day job is in disability so I am perhaps somewhat more sensitive to these matters than many people might be.

The rest of the characters where fun and well crafted, though, which is why I say The Tales of Witchmen would have a great future as a children's entertainment. It is silly (in a good way), has great characters and fun hat work, and Hamill really embrace the pantomime structure with glee and energy.

2.5 Stars

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