HOSTAGES AND HAMSTERS
La Bonne Crpe, London SW11
Opened 31 March, 1992

This (unless I've lost count) is the 103rd production in SW11's restaurant/theatre, so artistic director Paul Prescott knows his constituency: affable, knowing parody-sitcom entertainment makes a much smoother dessert than angst. Stuart Mackenzie's confection centres on a Latin American embassy siege, allowing access to several comic strands: vanity and bickering among the guerrillas, national stereotyping of British and American representatives (if this is diplomacy, I'm Margaret Rutherford), and a gradually emerging tangle of imposture and double-agenthood to leave even a sober head agreeably spinning. Not to mention a climax involving an inconvenient miracle-cure and yes an escaped hamster.

The cast work well together, neither stealing each other's limelight nor falling prey to the misapprehension that bigger must mean better: good comedy, like good cuisine, should leave 'em wanting more. An enjoyable part of an evening out rather than providing the mainspring of the outing, but nonetheless much more bonne than crpe.

Written for City Limits magazine.

Copyright Ian Shuttleworth; all rights reserved.

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