facebook play-alt chevron-thin-right chevron-thin-left cancel location info chevron-thin-down star-full help-with-circle calendar images mail whatsapp directions_car directions_bike train directions_walk directions_bus close spinner11
# I MISS THEATRE
Are you missing theatre as much as we are? Support us now with Theatre Tokens and see your favourite shows when they reopen.

Betwixt!

First Published 29 July 2011, Last Updated 29 July 2011

How should a highly acclaimed writer solve the issue of writer’s block? That’s not the question I asked myself this morning, staring at a blank computer screen, but the problem central to musical comedy Betwixt!

The answer, as all writers will know, is to meet a new room-mate – for whom you haven’t advertised – and step through a door that magically appears in your apartment, entering a fantasy world in need of saving by a great adventurer. Take it from me, we’ve all had days like that.

This particular enchanted country is inhabited by a princess whose magical sister is trying to bring about her downfall, a troupe of ever-so-slightly inept travelling performers, some salaciously distracting nymphs, and a disembodied German head which has been put under a curse. The programme’s introduction to the show suggests the audience “don’t ask too many questions – just go with it”. Wise advice, I would say.

There are many questions worth asking, ‘Why take the smallest stage in the West End and shrink it further with an onstage band?’ being just one of them. In fairness, it would probably take a sorcerer of immense power to create space for a live band in this most bijou of venues, but it is hard to conjure a fantasy landscape when there is barely enough room to swing a dwarf.

While headline casting comes in the shape of Little Shop Of Horrors’s Ellen Greene – playing a trio of magical siblings – and Peter Duncan, who morphs from daytime TV star to over-the-top actor – okay, maybe that’s not so much of a leap – it is a threesome of rising musical stars that push the plot forward.

Benedict Salter, making his West End debut as stalling author Bailey, plays the straight man, in more ways than one, to Ashleigh Gray’s torso-less Teutonic tunesmith Miranda and Steven Webb’s Cooper, who could not be more of a Queen if he was Brian May wearing a tiara. Webb, in fact, steals the show with his pitch perfect comedy campery.

With book, music, lyrics and direction all supplied by Ian McFarlane, Betwixt! definitely feels like one man’s project, which could have been polished by another pair of eyes. It finds comedy in self-reference and knowingness, but occasionally too much so. It sometimes goes for the obvious gag when a little more sophistication would give it the panache of a mighty wizard rather than the patter of a street magician.

But maybe I am falling into the trap of asking too many questions; take them away and Betwixt! is two hours of knockabout silliness, owing a debt to Monty Python and The League Of Gentlemen, with a message, a heart and a trio of central performers who leave you smiling. Just go with it.

MA

Share

Sign up

Related articles

If you click through to seat selection (where you'll see either best available or a seating plan), you will be seeing the most up-to-date prices. If this differs from what we've written on the calendar, please bear with us, as those prices will update soon.

We now sell our famous TKTS Booth discounts online here at Official London Theatre.

We are now cancelling all performances up until and including 31 May 2020 to help us process existing bookings whilst we wait for further clarity from the government in terms of when we will be able to reopen.

We are so sorry that in these testing and difficult times you are not able to enjoy the show you have booked for and hope the following helps clarify next steps in respect of your tickets .

There is nothing that you need to do if your performance has been cancelled, but we do ask for your patience.

If you have booked directly with the theatre or show website for an affected performance, please be assured that they will contact you directly to arrange an exchange for a later date, a credit note/voucher or a refund. If you have booked via a ticket agent they will also be in contact with you directly.

We are processing in strict date order of performance, so you are likely to be contacted after the date you were due to go to the theatre. However, we want to reassure you that you will be contacted, and your order will be processed, but please do bear with us.

We’d like to thank everyone who has been patient and kind in dealing with their ticket providers so far and we are sorry that we cannot process your order as quickly as we would like.

Please do not contact your credit card company as that will slow the process down and put an additional burden on our box office and ticket agent teams.

In order for us to serve our audiences the best we can, please do not get in touch with your point of sale if you have booked for performances after 31 May. Please be reassured that if we have to cancel future performances you will be directly contacted by your theatre or ticket provider. Our producers continue to plan for all eventualities dependent on the individual needs of their shows and we will provide further updates on specific shows as and when they become available.

We look forward to welcoming you back into our theatres as soon as we are allowed to resume performances. In the meantime stay safe and healthy.

While theatres are currently closed, various venues and productions are making announcements for their individual shows, including cancellations and rescheduled performances. Please check with the individual shows for details.