SEVENTIES attitudes, seventies wallpaper, and, sadly, seventies jokes are the materials for this end-of-the-pier play about a northern lad leading a one-man sexual revolution in a frigid Pennines.
Craig Gazey – Graeme Proctor from Corrie – is inspired by Ecstasy magazine to experiment with the life of free love. His wife – Suzanne Shaw from Hear’Say – isn’t too pleased about that.
It might have been because the script itself has dated beyond resuscitation, or simply because of on-the-nose performances, but Funny Peculiar wasn’t very funny ha ha – to adopt a joke from the show. It took a long time for the audience to warm up to the play, and there were few hearty laughs when they did.
Sex doesn’t shock like it used to, after all, and today’s crowds expect a faster rate of jokes than those of the 70s. The text hasn’t been updated, nor have ways to make the play funny beyond the jokes provided in the script been explored.
Vicky Entwistle steals the show as Mrs Baldry, the frumpy widow who rules the village with a tongue of iron. She successfully uses her character for laughs rather than relying on the weak jokes in the script. You won’t recognise her as Janice Battersby from Coronation Street unless you’re on the look-out for her.
Physical comedy is often the show’s best asset, particularly in a scene where Craig Gazey burns his nose on a lighter while trying to seduce the married woman down the road.
The ten-minute food fight scene, on the other hand, was notable for its leisurely pace. Like watching the fight scenes in The Matrix, you had time to guess what would happen next or marvel at the complicated choreography. It wasn’t funny, but it was beautiful in a way.
There have been a clutch of successfully revived comedies in the West End recently, notably the One Man Two Guvnors that came to the Kings’ in December. Unfortunately Funny Peculiar feels reanimated rather than brought back to life.
Run ends Saturday. Show contains adult content and nudity.