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The Knight Of The Burning Pestle

Published 27 February 2014

What’s it all about?

A member of the audience storms on to the stage in disgust at the unfolding production. But this is no ordinary audience member, this is Phil Daniels in the role of a grocer who has come to the theatre with his wife. Both are fed up of plays about the nobility so instead of the billed production of The London Merchant they demand a work of their own creation, starring the grocer’s apprentice Rafe as the heroic knight of its title.

“Plot me no plot”, the grocer declares, but instead what unfolds is a play with multiple plots: of the forbidden love between a merchant’s daughter and his apprentice, of a knight’s heroic conquests and of a play gone horribly horribly wrong.

Who’s in it?

Matthew Needham brings wit and endearment to the role of Rafe, with Dennis Herdman and Dean Nolan forming an unbeatable comedy double act as his hapless companions.

Paul Rider takes drunken dad dancing to an all new level as Merrythought and Giles Cooper makes a great campaign for bringing the word ‘forsooth’ back into today’s vocabulary as the son of Hannah McPake’s superior Mistress Merrythought, Michael.

Whether you can say they’re actually ‘in’ the play is debateable, but Daniels and Pauline McLynn give hilarious performances as the grocer and his demanding wife. Imagine sitting in a theatre as the couple in front of you slurp drinks and rustle sweet papers while talking loudly and obnoxiously over the play. That’s them, and they do it brilliantly!

What should I look out for?

The eclectic range of costumes. From chainmail to period gowns and horse suits, the show has them all. Even the onesie makes an appearance.

Who was in the press night crowd?

The grocer and his wife were accompanied by several individuals lucky enough to be fed and watered by the interfering duo and some not so lucky audience members who became victims of the play’s non-stop tomfoolery.

In a nutshell?

Give in to your silly side for an evening of insurmountable chaos courtesy of this boldly staged production.

What’s being said on Twitter?

@AnnaBrk Absolutely loved Knight of the Burning Pestle @The_Globe. Such a contrast to the chilling intimacy of Malfi, & the #SWP suits both so well.

@AndyKesson Knight of the Burning Pestle: hilarious, feisty, fully squaring up to the play’s fractious take on contemporary theatre culture. Wonderful.

Will I like it?

If you’re the sort of person who enjoys a drink or two while watching a show this is certainly for you. With three five-minute interludes and a 15-minute interval there are more than enough opportunities to top up your beverage.

If you’re a fan of Monty Python and love the comic madness that comes with a good pantomime you’re sure to enjoy the entertainment too.

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