The Austerity Show @ Norden Farm

The Austerity show is like a bric-a-bac shop, with a jumbled mish-mash of things to entertain, but no thread to hold it all together.

Richard Attlee, as character Hubert, accosts the audience as they take their seats. He is selling the Austerity programme, with its explanation of the show and small survival kit. It introduces the Mountjoys, who are made up of Hubert and twin sister Eunace, and their agenda to share thrifty tips and awaken the spirit of summer.

Their application of austerity is applied in their vintage dress and limited staging of a large pitched tent that doubles up as a place to sleep. Perfect! Recycling and reuse are the main ways that they offer to be thrifty and equally when the audience are invited to make suggestions in the interval they come up with fantastical ways to reuse nail clippings, bottle caps and tea bags.

The Mountjoys use a fusion of 90s music remixes, interpretive dance and cleaning demonstrations to mock the current political climate and confusion-marketing relative to financial planning. Their lexical punning and situational observations are some of best things about the show and the actors enthusiasm and energy is infectious. Equally charming are the outlandish use of ornamental animals who discuss their extensive travel experiences and the intervals with the politically minded badger puppet, who rallies support against the disgusting human species.

The performance gets to the height of ridiculousness when Hubert, who starts eating and drinking from the cleaning trolley, transforms into Elvis and starts being chased around the stage. These time fillers distracts from any clear point and the final beckoning for the summer spirit comes right at the end, almost as an afterthought.

The audience leave feeling involved and cheery, with some even going away with heartfelt prizes. It’s generally entertaining, with sparks of real wit. Although the cheap laughs that thematically motivates the performance is perhaps austerity gone too far.

The Austerity Show is a touring performance. For future dates and venues visit: http://www.slotmachinetheatre.com/Uke_evangelists.html

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