Theatre review - Marina and the Clone, The Kings Arms, Salford
- Credit: Archant
Hilarity, wildness, eccentricity and Ann Diamond! The latest collaboration between writer, R.P. Douglas and director, Mike Heath, had it all for the enjoyment of the watching Kings Arms audience.
The last time Mike and Richard worked together was on the play “Barbara the Zoo Keeper” back in 2016. Richard’s latest work is a zany, almost re-telling of Frankenstein, but set in the 1980’s. “Marina and the Clone” is a story that was developed on the Write for The Stage (WFTS) course that Mike runs and is anything but normal.
Marina Oliveto is a fading superstar desperate to claw her way back to stardom by the only way she knows how…surgery. Her age is catching up with her and she relies on the handiwork of her friend, Dr. Barnabaus, an eccentric, “mad scientist” type who has helped with her looks in the past. Dr. Barnabaus, however, has other ideas and has a mad-capped theory that will help Marina to easily climb her way back up the ladder of success while she sits at home with her feet up. A clone! They conjure up a plan to kidnap a woman who looks like a younger version of Marina and to make her become the clone and to do all the boring, hard work while Marina does very little. But, in the world of science, chemistry and some biology, nothing ever goes to plan.
R.P. Douglas’ script is, as described by Mike Heath, bonkers. The characters were over the top, the story was over the top and the performances were over the top, but all three elements brought together complimented each other perfectly and brought out a wonderfully hilarious and enjoyable show. Set in the 80’s it gave Douglas plenty of material to use with topical jokes littered throughout and clever references to stories and people of the decade. The scenes were brilliantly interspersed with popular songs of the period to encapsulate the era thoroughly.
For a script, so diverse and crazy, it required the performances to match and they did just that. The four actors who brought the story to life were stunning and played some of the zaniest characters ever created superbly well. Chrissy Hoey was brilliant as Marina portraying the role of the sassy drama queen and small, but effective, movements with the slight flicking of her hair and her wonderful mannerisms throughout. Nathan Morris was the mad Dr. Barnabaus, perhaps one of the strangest characters you’ll meet, but also one of the warmest and funniest which is purely down to how well he played it. Emmy Fyles played the role of pageant winner Ashley turned Marina clone in a role full of laughs and performance of the highest comedic value. Robert Moore played the dual role of the Maître D and a reporter. Both roles gave us a vision of his versatility as an actor and also a comedian – the Maître D in particular was hilarious - a role played to perfection.
Many of the shows lines were met with roars of laughter and the little asides to the audience that all the actors did worked so well. That combined with the odd gaff that the actors cleverly brought into the story portrayed how professional and how intelligent the story and the performances were.
It’s a play that you may find odd or you may find strange, but one that you will definitely enjoy and one that will stick with you long after the performance has ended.
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I, for one, would go and see it again.