Spymonkey at Wilton's Music Hall, 27th Dec 2014
Having spent the last couple of months consumed by research on Renaissance patronage and Elizabethan portraiture, my numbed and overindulged Christmas brain needed shaking up into the new year and back into theatre. Spymonkey were certainly the brood to do it. Their reputation has been preceding them for years, to the point where I had persuaded myself that they would be so seriously comedic that they’d take themselves too seriously and that I, a mere mortal would find them totally inaccessible. In a sense, my struggle to do them justice in words is a manifestation of this, they are just too good. It was a rare occasion when I ceased to enquire and started to be absorbed. My notebook was replaced by mulled wine and interval networking replaced by handsome company and a sense of awe of the rough and ready surroundings of Wilton’s bar.
Spymonkey presents Mrs Hudson’s Christmas Corker, where stories are told through a series of investigations by Sherlock Holmes and Watson, “DOCTOR John Watson”. The all singing all dancing company seamlessly rotate characters, costumes and narratives. The show is abundant with glitz, giggles, accents and facial expressions. A laugh a minute, Spymonkey embody each character, tableaux and routine with ease and charisma making an art out the ridiculous. As an aggressively horny Angel Gabriel was raised into the roof, a Jewish mafia boss Herod, raised the roof with a showstopper. The audience love it and love each individual character for their absurdities and humanness.
The Christmas corker was staged in Wilton’s Music Hall. Its stripped walls reveal layers of paint from its years as an alehouse, concert hall and church. Tucked away from the main streets on Grace’s Alley, it’s a place forgotten by time. Spymonkey’s multi-narratives of Sherlock Holmes, the Immaculate Conception and the Nativity were as quirky as the venue’s plurality of histories. Having an interest in the biography of space in both performance and historical research; Wilton’s Music Hall provides a wealth of identities to uncover. I Leave you with an image of a heavily accented, French Angel Gabriel bounding downstage to “immaculately concept her,” after irritating an Aztec God with his over enthusiastic kisses.