Done to Death, By Jove by Nic Collett
Presented by Nicholas Collett and Gavin Robertson in association with Virtually Creative. Kryztoff at the Goodwood Theatre – Main Theatre. Adelaide Fringe Until February 26 2023.
Reviewed by Peter Wilkins
Done to Death, By Jove could well refer to the puns, gags and malapropisms that bounce around this hysterically funny parody of the British Repertory Whodunnit, Except that there is nothing done to death about this very cleverly conceived spoof. The conceit may also be familiar to many. Two actors are ready to appear in a crime mystery in the traditional style of an Agatha Christie when they learn that the other members of the cast and crew are held up on the freeway and won’t be able to make the show, But as they say in showbiz “The show must go on” and so each actor assumes the many roles in a gobsmacking dervish of changed costumes, different characters, mixed up dialogue and a fair dose of performance panic. Actors Nicholas Collett and Gavin Roberstson are consummate character clowns in the tradition of Morecombe and Wise, Laurel and Hardy, Abbott and Costello and the Two Ronnies. In Done to Death, By Jove we have another first class comedy duo Robertson and Collett or should that be Collett and Robertson. Collett, who has written this Agatha meets Arthur Conan Doyle romp is the fall guy to Roberstson’s more physically dominating straight man. While Collett plays Watson, Miss Marples and the Matron of the Home of Peace and Care. Roberston takes on the more authoritative roles sof Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot.
Both succumb to the frenzy of farce, dropping out of character in moments of hilarious confusion as they fumble and bumble their way through the play and a cavalcade of incongruous characters to the obvious delight of an audience that relishes the slapstick and the silliness of a well-crafted farce . Missed cues, jumbled lines, funny accents, hat swapping routines and utter incongruity, performed by two excellent and in sync actors in the tradition of Music Hall and Vaudeville clowning make Done to Death, By Jove a welcome panacea in times of distress and uncertainty. The audience is privy to the best of bloopers and backstage bugles.
Collett and Roberston are in total control slipping in and out of character with alacrity and a change in vocal tone cleverly distinguishing the drama of Lady Fanshaw’s murder with the desperate attempt by two confused Repertory actors clinging to some semblance of control. The result is delightful farce and ridiculous clowning and the audience lapped it up. There may be no deep and meaningful message and no moral to this tale but it is good fun at the two actors’ expense. Audiences are guaranteed to have an entertaining sixty minutes of fun and laughter. After all who couldn’t do with a night of laughter at the Fringe. Robertson and Collett deliver in spades.