Devotees of Paul Prescott's dextrous shoestring genre-parodies will know what to expect from the title alone: James Fond, agent 077, on a mission to stop the sinister Doctor Never (complete with daft prosthetic limb and cardboard cat) from conquering the world via exploding Christmas trees. He's aided by the long-suffering L and the attractive-in-an-ordinary-sort-of-way Miss Moneyshilling, gets romantically entangled with Miss Perfect Purr and repeatedly hampered by a South London bit-part actress who keeps fluffing and causing retakes (yes, a play with retakes).
The songs which punctuate the action are often spot-on: the John Barryesque theme, the Phil Spectorish "Have Yourself A Very Deadly Christmas" and even a Wizzard Xmas-number pisstake. Technically, this is about as complex as a CrÍpe show can safely get: the scene-changes, multiple role-playing and extravagant sound FX cause a number of ropey moments, but it'll run in and the intrinsic cheap, cheerful'n'cheeky house spirit prevails. Really, this has every feature on the Bond checklist: badly dubbed exotic voices, a ski-chase sequence, a woman waving her arms around during the opening song... and The Accshent. Not bad for a back room in a Battershea reshtaurant, eh?
Written for City Limits magazine.
Copyright © Ian Shuttleworth; all rights reserved.
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