Only The Grandees could make poo and penis jokes this funny. They brought uproarious jollity to the Hen and Chickens’ packed theatre this week with The Box of Cricks, a surreal and silly treat that makes Little Britain look like You’ve Been Framed.
The sketch cleverly walks that very fine line above potty-mouth playground humour without stooping to South Park proportions. It is a compact comedy joyride with random elements of The Mighty Boosh and 118 118 TV commercials thrown into the mix.
Fresh from the Edinburgh Fringe festival the acclaimed show has just finished a five-night run at Highbury’s venerable fringe venue where talking sunglasses, fiddling donkeys and ridiculous dance routines pack a perfectly formed, 45-minute, lycra-clad punch.
It begins with a talking doll. Not the cute, comforting feminine figure of security to children the world over, but a freaky-faced paper mache manikin with a cynical male voiceover.
Deaf Nicodemus discovers through his Dutch grandmother the special significance of The Box of Cricks, a family heirloom that provides a gateway to a world where he was once prince. But the evil Grandees stole his crown and blew his parents up with dynamite, leaving him socially outcast and ‘aurally challenged’.
In order to defeat the Grandees he must vanquish the woman with the seven-foot arm and retrieve the special key that has a penchant for anal probing. All the while undertaking ridiculous dance routines and homo-erotic encounters with a camp fawn (‘Jump on me and we will ride as one’).
Highlights include comic choreography to Kate Bush’s Wuthering Heights and a string of crass one-liners (‘What you need is a good, swift kick up the piss flaps’).
It’s a tight act in tomfoolery by a talented trio (Tom Turner, Marny Godden and Greg Finnegan) that, not satisfied with injecting laughter into an entire audience, stood at the theatre’s exit after the show personally handing out handmade Christmas cards to each audience member. Their Hen and Chickens run may have come to an end, but I doubt this is the last we’ll be seeing of The Grandees.
Hen and Chickens
109 St Pauls Road
Highbury Corner N1 2NA
Tel: 020 7704 2001