‘ … a blackly comic sometimes hilarious tale … ‘
Written, directed and performed by Ross Gurney-Randall and Doug Devaney
The Old Courtroom
Brighton Fringe 2017
Two actors, Ross and Doug, know there’s an agent somewhere in the house tonight and they’re out to impress. They’ve devised a show that ticks all the boxes; three act structure, hero’s journey, lots of different voices – and a ukulele.
The Old Courtroom’s wood-panelled walls and high ceiling’s a great change from the usual black-draped Brighton box, and the perfect setting for the extraordinary tale of an outsider whom ultimately nobody but the hangman wanted.
During WW2, one of the most instantly recognisable radio voices was that of William Joyce, otherwise known as Lord Haw Haw. His exaggerated posh toff tones, almost but not quite ‘one of us’, tried to demoralise the British war effort.
‘Germany calling .. ‘ The creepiest moment comes when the lights go down as Doug searches for – and finds – that Voice in the last seconds at the end of the first act.
Ross Gurney-Randall and Doug Devaney make a great double act, powerful voices and great stage presence both buzzing with frenetic energy throughout.
They skip a stone across the complex tale, bickering and ranting as they plunge into re-enacting each key incident in Joyce’s life, helped with silent movie-style placards reminding us where we’ve landed.
The ‘funny, political, ends with a hanging’ brochure blurb and the prop-filled coffin centre stage make it pretty clear how it will all end, and the show sweeps us there very entertainingly, telling a blackly comic sometimes hilarious tale with a grim showman’s sense of the ridiculous. Gallows humour indeed.