THE more you know about tennis at SW 19 the funnier you’’ll find the New Old Friends new show, Crimes on Centre Court, opening at Bath until 28 May prior to a national tour later in the year.
One happy co-incidence is that Ben Thornton, one of the quartet of actors, bears a long distance resemblance to Dan Evans, Britain’s current Number 2. There is also Emile Clarke’s puffer-pigeon-perfect personation of our esteemed and badly-thatched leader’s vocal traits as he plays Lord Hugh Knows, a nothing-like-so-clever-as-he-thinks-he-is rich-boy buffoon.
Enough of that.
The Bath-based company has developed a style, increasingly popular with audiences across the south west, that depends on verbal and physical gymnastics. Small casts demonstrate multi-role skills with quick-fire costume changes and a bit of ventriloquism to boot.
Feargus Woods Dunlop’s latest offering all adds up to an evening of fun at the net, full of plots, affairs, drugs, development plans and a mounting tally of murders.
In the mean time, watch Kirsty Cox as Wendy Weaver (and seven others), Sedona Rose as the cleverly smitten Penny Pink (and Erica), Emile Clarke as Hugh Knows, (plus three) and Ben Thornton as Perry Pink plus four. All four also provide a peripatetic acappella hedge – harmoniously narrating all the bits you missed.
As always with New Old Friends, there are witty words and well developed routines as the preposterously complicated plot unfolds, but a bit of time might judiciously be sliced off before the show sets out on its late summer and Autumn tour.
Photographs by Pamela Raith