Search

Raising Martha, Park Theatre, review: ‘Revolves around Tom Bennett and Joey Fry’s rapport’

PUBLISHED: 17:00 17 January 2017

Joel Fry and Tom Bennet in Raising Martha at the Park Theatre. Picture: Darren Bell

Joel Fry and Tom Bennet in Raising Martha at the Park Theatre. Picture: Darren Bell

Archant

David Spicer’s new dark comedy has sex, slapstick and silly behaviour performed by an outstanding cast with a collective CV spanning Game of Thrones, Harry Potter, Doctor Who and Phone Shop

Raising Martha sounds like the heart-warming tale of a tortured young girl evacuated to the countryside during World War Two into the care of a gruff couple who, despite initial reservations, form a special and unbreakable bond. Basically Goodnight Mister Tom mark II.

Not even close. The theme of David Spicer’s new dark comedy is animal rights related grave robbery gone wrong. Gerry (Stephen Boxer) has locked himself in his family home slash ex-frog farm as a result of relentless attacks from activists, when Jeff Rawle’s village Inspector, arrives to tell him and his brother Roger (Julian Bleach) that their mother has been kidnapped.

Well, most of her. Animal rights activists Jago and Marc have dug her up, haplessly leaving behind a library card and a femur. They hope to blackmail Gerry and Roger into selling the house, which Gerry has now transformed into a toad sweat infused cannabis farm. As you can imagine, chaos and confusion ensues.

There’s sex, slapstick and a lot of silly behaviour performed by a truly outstanding cast with a collective CV spanning Game of Thrones, Harry Potter, Doctor Who, Phone Shop and Drop the Dead Donkey.

Tom Bennett (responsible for the hysteria in Whit Stillman’s Love & Friendship) gets the special recognition award for his portrayal of Marc, who isn’t quite sure what he’s gotten himself into. His rapport with Joel Fry’s Jago, the passionate but inactive “leader”, forms the axis around which the play revolves.

Michael Fentiman’s direction is wonderful but it is the script that takes Raising Martha to another plane, namely Spicer’s clever use of wordplay. Each second induces either a guffaw or a grin.

A farce such as this is fertile ground for obvious jokes, but it is the mark of a true artist that he plucks and presents them at just the right time to garner maximum appreciation. You laugh immediately, thinking: “I should have seen that one coming.”

There’s no weak link in this star-studded cast who deliver every gag with precision.

A must-see.

Rating: 4/5 stars

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Islington Gazette visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Islington Gazette staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Islington Gazette account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Islington Entertainment Stories

With RSC regular Greg Hicks in the title role, the interpretation highlights the interplay between hollow political promises and cruel reality.

08:00

Distorted Façade brings the artists together to look at the human form, both producing bodies of work that explore the depiction of the figure in the post modern age.

Yesterday, 18:07

Johnny Depp is stuck recycling one of his worst performances alongside Javier Bardem’s new villain in Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge

Friday, May 19, 2017

The London Tango Quintet are playing at Hackney’s Round Chapel on May 25

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read entertainment

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Islington Gazette
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now