21 Nov

by Seth Rudetsky and Jack Plotnick

at Charing Cross Theatre

I just wish there were more stars to award a show. This is worth at least seven and a half. It was only on for two performances and though the director gave them all scripts to read from, the actors – mostly West End feature players – insisted on learning the roles and performing them with all props and costumes etc. The stage staff also joined in, doing the lighting, the costumes etc. all for nothing.
This was a charity show in aid of MAD – Make a Difference and it is mostly to raise funds for victims of Aids or HIV so it was a good cause, but it was not only the cause that made the actors and staff so keen to work on the show. It is because it is simply bloody brilliant.
It is a spoof on disaster movies and it is hysterically funny from beginning to end. The cast is amazing. They play it as if they have been properly rehearsed, choreographed and directed for weeks. Certainly they have been rehearsing, but Sunday afternoon was the first time they had actually done it together.
Most especially Jennifer Simard who plays the – nearly guitar playing – nun called Sister throughout. Sister is not only obsessed with gambling but so madly in love with a one armed bandits that she embraces them like a lover. She played the role on the Broadway version and made the trip over here just to perform it again.

Simon Lipkin who is practically Mr West End these days plays the ridiculous nasty villain, especially funny when approached by a blind girl, and pretends not to see her. She has been blinded by the Earthquake, only one of the many disasters that befall this helpless cast. They start on a Shipboard Casino and encounter Shipwreck, Volcano, Earthquake, tidal wave, Piranha fish and sharks. It’s a wonder any of them survive – well most of them do. Sally Ann Triplett plays Shirley a woman who is dying of some unknown disease that produces crazy physical symptoms one by one. She eventually expires doing a mad tap dance in order to save the hero and heroine from a tidal wave – but how can a tap dance…? don’t ask!

When I first saw Seth doing his Deconstructing Broadway show I thought maybe we just had the same sense of humour. Judging from the audience response to DISASTER, everyone has the same funny bone.

I – and all the other people who witnessed these shows hope desperately that it will be restaged here at our dear little Charing Cross Theatre which fits it so admirably.

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