[author-post-rating] (3/5 Stars)
Calling all Whovians! Can you keep a secret? I Need a Doctor: The Whosical is based on one of the BBC’s most popular shows but Stormy Teacup Theatre Ltd. is determined to keep under the Beeb’s radar. Ultimate Doctor Who fans James Wilson-Taylor and Jessica Spray have created a gloriously silly tribute to their favourite show with the added entertainment of not infringing on BBC copyright.
The hour-long show takes the audience across the time and space continuum with the Lord of Time – definitely not to be associated with a certain BBC copyrighted character. With the role of the companion performed by Spray, and all others by Wilson-Taylor, the show charges around the stage with musical accompaniment by Jennifer Lucy Cook.
The upbeat energy of the show is apparent from the outset, with the actors switching rapidly between characterisation of Doctor Who characters and their roles as co-creators of the show. The songs amusingly delve deep into the Doctor Who nerd-dom with loving references to all of the twelve actors since 1963, generating laughs from all ages in the audience. The more fair-weather fans would miss some of the more niche allusions, but to the initiated the details of soufflés and kiss-o-grams guarantee a knowledgeable laugh – and it is unlikely that anyone who hated all 26 series of Doctor Who would choose to attend this particular show.
Spray, as the companion who parodies her television role as an ever faithful devotee, gains laughs with observational lines, while her and Wilson-Taylor’s duets – such as their closing ode to the “phone box” in ‘Phone Box of Love’ – help to elevate the show to a raucous level of silliness.
Another facet of this show that is bound to delight is the imaginative costume designs and props. An audience favourite would definitely be the wicker-basket robot dog “D-10”, who helps to save Spray from a low-budget death scene, and a Dalek characterised by a plunger. The show is slightly affected by sound levels however, with Cook’s excellent accompaniment sometimes seeming too loud, leaving the other two having to strain their voices. While the show is constantly self-deprecating in comparison to its BBC forerunner in a series of gags, it occasionally appears to rely on this reasoning to excuse some slightly untidy stage management.
However, Stormy Teacup Theatre Ltd. has created an enchanting show that will delight Doctor Who fans from across the generations, and I doubt it will leave any audience members wanting to stop The Whosical through a BBC lawsuit.
I Need a Doctor: The Whosical played at The Warren: Main House as part of the Brighton Fringe. For more information see the Brighton Fringe website.