THE STAR-STUDDED CAST
The small yet star-studded cast features many familiar faces, led by actor/comedian Les Dennis (Family Fortunes, Coronation Street) as Bobby, a former comic who now fondly recalls his days of fame as part of a hugely successful comedy duo. Bobby now performs in mediocre pantos, stays in his PJs until the afternoon, and his walls are filled with wistful mementos of his past success.
His son, Michael, a successful observational comedian, is played by Blake Harrison (The Inbetweeners), with Tala Goeveia as his fiancée who can’t survive a day without Pret A Manger. Mohammed, played by Nitin Ganatra (Eastenders), doesn’t make an appearance until Act 2, yet he still manages to steal the show.
THE COMEDY ABOUT COMEDY
The play is a comedy about comedy, and it really hits home. There are even two mini stand-up comedy sets at the beginning and end of the show, making you feel like you’re almost at a Michael McIntyre gig (although, if you don’t appreciate any risk of audience participation, avoid the front row!). Les Dennis’ character has a rule that you aren’t allowed to leave the bathroom until you make a joke and someone laughs, so expect some hilarious knock-knock jokes too.
Despite the humour of the show, it has underlying darker themes. It raises an important topic about victimisation within comedy – how a ‘joke’ is often at the expense of offending or hurting someone else. End Of The Pier takes an interesting look at changing attitudes towards what kind of humour we find acceptable and funny throughout different eras.
The show also, however, explores the other side of this topic, showing how comedy can also be used to give a voice to a victim.
In a year where international relations are under the spotlight more than ever, the theme of racism is fundamental to the play, raising thought-provoking questions of how prejudice can be held against someone to give the perpetrator a sense of power – be this through a threat, insult, or what may be perceived as a joke. The whole thing feels cuttingly relevant to our times.
End Of The Pier is playing at the Park Theatre until 11 August. To get your tickets, click here.