Three scousers, two angry mobs and a horse. Naughty Corner Productions presents the worst criminals in the world; simple scouse lad Tony (Nick Sheedy), Stan the man with the plan (Warren Kettle), and uptight firecracker Paul (Michael Hawkins). When Tony recklessly bets away his savings in a dodgy deal, he convinces his dim-witted pals to help him out of the pickle. The trio hatch a plan to undo Tony’s wrongdoings; a plan that includes profanity - and a horse. Written and directed by Mike Dickinson, Not The Horse is a brilliant cacophony of music, accents and stupidity. The ensemble utilise the cavernous hall well by clambering amongst the audience chairs and surprising the audience with several backdoor entrances; the element of surprise - a key phrase for this production.
From hilarious one liners and getting up close and personal with audience members, to a ketamine fueled trip involving Enya and some disturbed horses, the ensemble consistently keep the audience on their toes. The cohort of cockney geezers is led by feisty Dom Jones (Tom Silverton), who bounds around the stage with the energy of a pitbull. The focus shifts efficiently from gang to gang with the use of repeated phrases and freeze frames. Costumes represent a range of social classes, with the southerners much like the Kray Twins in braces and chains, the Irish cronies in jumble sale clothes (and a rather dangerous looking neckbrace), and the chavvy scousers modelling dappy-like Peruvian hats.Hawkins and Kettle provide a hilariously naive ‘Tweedledee and Tweedle-shit’ double act, with expert comic timing. The piece might benefit from more extensive lighting, as often the actors were hidden in oddly shaped shadows or blackouts.
Majestic Daniel Carmichael commands the stage as Silk, bringing forth immense presence and status shifts between the actors. Although the plot is ridiculous, the stakes are high for these characters and the energetic ensemble portray this wonderfully. The soundtrack to this piece is excellent, with each song hilariously hand-picked to enhance each comedic moment. Who’d have thought Dropkick Murphys could complement Marvin Gaye so well? With such a large ensemble, this snappy, lively show is jam packed with surprise after surprise; a treat for those who revel in comedy ridiculousness.