PEOPLE SHOW 121: THE DETECTIVE SHOW
by Gareth Brierley, Sadie Cook, Fiona Creese, Mark Long.
Old Red Lion Theatre To 2 November 2013.
Tue-Sat 7.30pm Sun 3pm.
Runs 1hr 15min No interval.
TICKETS: 0844 412 4307.
Review: Timothy Ramsden 19 November.
The People take on crime with comedy and mystery.
It started with 2 performances of Number 1 in a London bookshop, in 1966, and has been adding up numerically ever since. The People Show has involved a number of different people, though Mark Long remains from the original troupe, having been there almost all along (the lack of his presence was once detected, ages ago).
Despite individual titles (such as ‘The Detective Show’) the company has numbered its productions through 47 (to date) years. Two long-term members remain involved. George Khan, one-time master of onstage sax riffs, supplies the soundtrack while mega-wordsmith Long has matured into 121’s wonderfully lugubrious, security-services spook.
He also presents a constable and a stereotypical Italian Waiter – the role that enables his familiar style of whirling into ever more enthusiastic detail as he circles and repeatedly lands on a single point, something served-up here in a bravura Seagull salad routine.
So much is this Long’s style that one speech from Gareth Brierley – who plays the controlling, authority part Long’s often taken – might have been made for the People Show’s longest-term member. An often deadpan Fiona Creese remains slightly to the side, as often with People Show women.
The company fulfils the Fringe criterion enunciated by Cindy Oswin, mixing their identities with the characters. You never forget the people doing a People Show – references to their names and apparently confidential chat, often severely laced with criticisms, pass between them. Funny enough, but also contributing to a strange sense of wonder within the process of theatrical creation.
This show spins a murder mystery across several decades (relishing anachronistic details), with references to crime novelist Agatha Christie’s own 11-day disappearance. Don’t expect to learn anything about it. All material is grist to the People Show mill, and comes out duly mashed-up. As they say, ignore anything the flyers which substitute for programmes tell you. Things have changed since they wrote them post-show in the pub.
If you like their style, you’ll love their show. Perhaps with a hint of doubt – things were always better in the past. If not, well they give enough warnings of their shortcomings.
Cast: Gareth Brierley, Fiona Creese, Mark Long.
Director: Jessica Worrall.
Music: George Khan.