Pass The Spoon @ Tramway
Not since the halcyon days of Vic Reeves’ Man With The Stick has such lunacy been given free rein on stage: it’s very, very silly indeed. The plot, such as it is, centres around Pass The Spoon, a bizarre TV cookery show hosted by the unctuous June Spoon (Pauline Knowles) and Phil Fork (Stewart Cairns) who vie to impress über-food critic Mr Granules by cooking him 'the ultimate dish': cue references to pies (we are in Glasgow after all).
This world premiere features the unlikely team of satirical artist/writer/musician David Shrigley in collaboration with composer David Fennessy and Magnetic North's director Nicholas Bone, and a live soundtrack performed by Scotland's eclectic contemporary orchestra, The Red Note Ensemble. The Ensemble, decked out in chef uniforms, naturellement, play a terrific score oozing malevolence – think Sondheim via Dr Seuss – while the excellent cast all have strong voices – Cairns in particular is exceptional.
But Gavin Mitchell, who has worked with Shrigley before on his animation, effortlessly steals the show with two roles – Mr Egg and… erm… Shit. Yes, that’s right, a walking turd, complete with cowboy boots. Pure Shrigleyland. The greatest song of the evening goes to Mr Egg – a moving ballad charting his struggle with alcoholism and manic depression, with its baritone refrain, 'I’ve been dropped too often.' Poignant stuff.
If that seems too grim a prospect, Martin McCormick’s louche Banana is delightful, as full of charm as potassium and twinklingly reminiscent of Dali himself.
Occasionally , PTS’ humour just doesn’t seem as scabrous as the best of Shrigley’s animated work – a tad too gentle, maybe? Mostly, though, it works, an undeniably fun, hi-octane show bursting with ideas and genius puppetry. On a more pedantic note, the turd costume could perhaps have used a little sweetcorn – but that’s just how I roll… oh, damn it!