Kindred Spirits by Ross McGregor. The Brockley Jack Studio, London SE 4 to 8 January 2022. 4****. William Russell.

If there is one thing you can rely on it is that the Christmas offering at the Brockley Jack Studio will both surprise and delight, and this year’s offering is a real bobby dazzler. Directed by Kate Bannister the piece moves along at a splendid lick and the cast of three are – well, surprising. I really was taken aback at the end when only three people came on for their curtain call. Jeremy Roland (Bryan Moriarty) is a writer of bad crime novels who has inherited his aunt’s country mansion. A hugely successful romantic novelist and writer of the books for musicals she has requested her publisher to take the young man on. The publisher (Brian Higgins) tells the young man, who despises his late aunt’s works, that his books are terrible but they will honour her request with one more book which he had better set about writing. From that all sorts of things happen including the arrival of assorted maidens in distress (Rachel Summers absolutely delicious),criminals from the world of pulp fiction, gumshoes like Sam Spade (Bryan Moriarty in complete contrast to his wimp of a novelist),a housekeeper from hell, the late aunt’s spirit, and a dog called Marlowe which eats people and auntie’s books which have a habit of bouncing off the shelves when Jeremy is rude about her creations. There are some cracking good lines, a handsome set by Karl Swinyard and much, much more.
Both Mr Higgins and Miss Summers burst which they deliver with style. The evening belongs to everyone, although one has to say Mr Higgins does manage the largest number of stunning transformations. If you are looking for a happy and hilarious Christmas show this is it.

Jeremy Roland/Harry Lambert: Bryan Moriarty.
Lily. Vera, Ingrid, Natalya, Millhone: Rachel Summers.
Big Al, Bucket, Dr Dupin, Mrs Brown, Colonel Thorndyke, Marlowe: Ben Higgins.

Director: Kate Bannister.
Set Designer:Karl Swinyard.
Lighting Designer: Robbie Butler.
Sound Design & Composition: Julian Star.
Costume Designer: Martin J Robinson.
Song Composition : Joseph Hardy.
Production Photography: Davor@TheOcularCreative.

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