The county still being alight with Olympic flame fever, what could be more fitting than a ‘lost’ Aristophanes comedy to round off the festivities?
That was the rather loosely imagined premise of The Games, a ribald and slapstick play brought to Norwich Playhouse by Spike Theatre.
The tale revolves around the fates of Darius (Liam Tobin), Stanzas (Mark Keemar Smith) and Hermaphrodite (Keddy Sutton) — all plucked from obscurity by the gods to take part in the Olympics and prove their sponsors’ theories about the nature of humanity. Mostly while naked.
There is a slightly political subtext, with Hermaphrodite barred from taking part in the games because of her gender but this is far from a serious production. Prosthetic penises are the order of the day, together with a sea of puns, slapstick physical theatre, shadow puppetry and no small number of songs.
The humour is bawdy, base and low — and nothing wrong with that — but at times it is also a little self-indulgent. This is a shortish show — around 75 minutes straight — but even then some scenes did drag a little.
Performances were enthusiastic rather than polished, and to that extent perhaps a true reflection of the original spirit of the games.