Review: Doodle

1 star rating
Fails to capitalise on the basic format and the result is a vapid, ill-judged and tediously humourless concoction. Dire.
Doodle at Waterloo East Theatre

Image: Waterloo East Theatre



Closes here: Sunday 28 January 2018

Author:
Jonathan Kydd

Composer:
Andy Street

Lyricist:
Jonathan Kydd

Director:
Jonathan Moore

Cast:

Paul Ryan - Filbert-Tweed & Guilaume the French restaurateur

Sooz Henshaw - Weaver, Svetlana Dorito, barmaid in Fox & Ferret

Paul Croft - Churchill, King George, Brian Queen aka Watson, Smiley the Assasin, Oberleutnant, Police Sergeant

Reggie Oliver - Shand-Beagle, Barnes Wallis, French Farmer

Paul Storrier - Mee, Errol Flynn, Gary Prince the Sherlock Holmes events organiser

Michael Sadler - Loomington-Badger, Sgt Major Trainer, Trevor the Rubbish Robot, Andre, Guillaume the German

Evan Boutsov - Bronson, Unteroffizer, Wilhelm, Cattermole, Gestapo man, Fritz

Sebastain Kainth - David Niven, Constable Crumb

Conor Cook - Deadman, Guntha

Luke Farrugia - Sam Kydd, Max, Bert

Jonathan Kydd - Voice of Theresa, The Voice Over

Kate Haughton, Viva Foster - Dancers

Grace Keeble - Swing



Synopsis


An all-singing all-dancing new comedy musical.


It is the year 1940.


Britain is at war with Nazi Germany.


Barnes Wallis, the eventual inventor of the world famous Bouncing Bomb as featured in the film the Dam Busters (you know the black and white one where the bomb bounces into the dams?) is kidnapped by the Nazis to build them a Bouncing Submarine.


No one believes the threat is serious ('A Bouncing submarine? Ha ha ha ha ha ha! Absurd!') and Barnes Wallis has so far only invented a Talking Robot called Trevor who is rubbish, so nobody, especially the King and Winston Churchill, believes Wallis's kidnapping should be taken seriously.


Consequently a Z team of not very good misfits including a Sherlock Holmes impersonator, is recruited to go on a secret mission to discover whether the threat is real or just a ridiculous joke.


Once they're on their way it's discovered that the threat is so serious, it has the potential to lose Britain the war. (CUE HUGE DOOM LADEN CHORD)


21 songs including a really impressive one where the cast sound like a Spitfire plane.


David Niven and Charles Bronson are in it.


Written by American Idol's Andy Street and actor Jonathan Kydd.


Whose father was actor Sam Kydd.


Sam's in it too.


Trailer



ActDrop reviews


Peter Brown

Performance date: Friday 12 January 2018
Review star rating image for 3 stars

The British obsession with the Second World War and the evil Nazis would still appear to be alive and kicking.


At least it is alive and kicking in the minds of the producers of this latest musical venture which once more rakes over the coals of a horrendous war which ended more than 70 years ago.


I'm not so sure that young Germans, or even young Brits have the same enthusiasm for this era of history being turned into entertainment, unless it's delivered in a way that has something new, interesting or relevant to say.


Sadly, that's not the case with Doodle which is, frankly, a dreadfully lacklustre reworking of well-worn and tired ideas which produces little in the way of humour in spite of its comedic ambitions.


Admittedly, comedy is a peculiar, almost ethereal beast and if this show demonstrates anything at all, it is just how off-target comedic intentions can drift even when employing what seems like a tried and trusted approach.


There are times - on stage, on TV or in films - when unusual, odd or ridiculous situations can provoke gales of uncontrollable laughter.


Whilst other, similarly absurd situations, as employed here in Doodle, simply fall inelegantly flat.


Even on press night - where the audience is often packed to the rafters with supportive chums of the cast and creatives ready to whoop at the drop of a hat (or pants, for that matter) - the reaction to this show was muted to say the least, with prolonged periods where any semblance of audible laughter was absent.


A woman in front of me did get the giggles during the second half, but those were the semi-suppressed kind which really mean "this is embarrassingly awful".


Her friend or partner sitting next to her also felt the onset, but managed to exert exemplary self-control.


I sat for pretty-much the duration desperate to find something to laugh at, but singularly failed, apart from a muffled snigger of amazement at the appearance of an oversized penis.


The format which Doodle adopts is, on paper at least, not devoid of merit.


It's 1940 and Britain is losing the war.


Intercepted messages suggest that the dreaded Nazis are planning to build a new super-weapon, and they capture Barnes Wallis to invent it for them.


Discovering the Nazis' intentions, the top brass of the British military decide to send a not-so-crack team to find Wallis and solve the mystery of the weapon.


The main comedic idea offers up a pastiche or parody of old war films and TV series through bungling agents and the antics of bonkers military commanders.


That basic idea could have provided material to get plenty of laughs, but the script offers almost nothing in the way of inventive, well-written gags to support the contrived situations and really milk them for humour.


Instead, we find Barnes Wallis accompanied by a mechanical robot with a tin can head, and a super agent called Smiley who effects a naked fan dance and sports a huge (fake) penis.


Some of the melodies in the songs are interestingly tuneful (though the lyrics prove less satisfying) and the brave cast deserve full marks for soldiering on against all the odds.


And they were, in almost every respect, fighting a loosing battle because Doodle fails to capitalise on the basic format and the result is a vapid, ill-judged and tediously humourless concoction.


Dire.



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