The Famous Four and a Half Go Wild in Thetford Forest

Eastern Angles, Sir John Mills Theatre

What can we expect from a production from Eastern Angles? Something completely different, quirky and sometimes bonkers, but we certainly expect high quality performances and a unique evening’s entertainment.

This production does not disappoint on any level, in truth, it over delivers. It’s brilliantly bonkers and superbly entertaining.

Set in 1964 based on The Famous Five concept but with twists on every corner. Four children, Rupert (Edward Kaye), Alex (Kandaka Moore), Nick (Jason Patel) and Fran (Lily Smith) are sent off to their nutty inventor Auntie Wingnut for the Christmas break. Auntie has invented a time machine which has been stolen by the Dark Shadowy Figure (Charles Barnett) and the children set off on an adventure to get it back. And what an adventure!

High energy performances from the brilliantly talented five actors, between them creating a multitude of characters as they chase through time, bringing historic stories to life with a bucket of sense of humour. The quick costume changes were well executed and the missing character from the group was part of the comical farce.

There were sarcastic digs at members of the audience, clever puns, subtle comedic references to modern society, hilarious jokes, wonderfully farcical musical renditions…..an endless run of fun and japes. They travelled both in the past and in the future, a future where Donald Trump is the Emperor of the Universe! There were political, historical, social and cultural references throughout – some bits were ludicrously bonkers yet was so enjoyably funny.

Not too many songs to make it a musical but they were all clearly articulated to get the full impact of the comedy and great voices. The cast each played an instrument or two to add to the music. We had Boudicca, vegetarian cavemen, Bangra, Dad’s Army, oral hygiene with a dinosaur, headball match between Ipswich & Norwich, Alexa……. many random things that were linked together seamlessly in a mix of history and culture all with the premise of one word in the wrong place at the wrong time could change history. Like their song mentions: Things go wobbly when you fiddle with time.

Written by Harry Long – how he managed to stuff in so many references is genius. You could watch this performance twice and still get new things from it, impossible to get every joke first time through as it was a constant barrage of humour.

There was audience participation, whether you liked it or not however we were engage and we secretly loved it. There were huge amounts of laugher, giggles, squeals of delight and huge applause.

The tiny stage in the middle with the audience on two sides, which added to the number of things the cast needed to think about, speaking to us at different angles without us missing anything.

It was Monty Python bonkers with The Goodies silliness. A couple of spoilers which are too good to mention.

This is their annual alternative to panto, if you don’t like the panto scene you have to go and see this. If you do like the panto scene you have to go and see this.