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I Spy Brian. Louth Playgoers & Hambledon Productions. 05 June 2022

Updated: Apr 8, 2023

I Spy Brian

by Rebekah Hardy

Louth Playgoers & Hambledon Productions

Louth Riverhead Theatre

09 - 11 Jume 2022

Rebekah Hardy's first full-length play is the winner of the Riverhead Theatre's Scratch Night contest and is about to embark on a tour of the region, beginning at the Riverhead Theatre on 09 June 2022. Review Culture was lucky enough to see a dress rehearsal of the play tonight and is happy to report that this rather absurd comedy will entertain its audiences with its daft jokes and ridiculous premise. Its a promising first play from Hardy and deserves to find audiences looking for a good time. Along with Hambledon's John Hewer, Rebekah Hardy co-directs the show and it promises to be a great night out.

We begin by meeting Wendy Burton, who works on the bins but prefers to give herself a grandiose title of "Refuse Acquirer", though we all know a bin lady when we meet one. As Wendy, Amanda Hodges gives a spirited performance of a woman desperately besotted by her somewhat mysterious neigbour, the enigmatic Brian de la Cruz. Her physical comedy and hilarious facial expressions set the scene beautifully as we learn of the human metronome that you can set your watch by.

Amanda's real-life husband Derek Hodges plays a bemused insurance salesman, who fails to understand the goings-on around him, when all he wants to do is sell insurance policies. Hodges is highly credible as the central figure who fails to understand why he should be shrouded in mystery when he just wants to get on with his job. It is often thankless playing a character who is unaware of the beliefs or expectations of other characters within a comic drama but Derek Hodges makes it look easy. His ease and natural charisma on stage are a pleasure to experience.

Doubling up as Co-Director and performer, John Hewer portrays the manic Scottish gamekeeper, Cecil Thompson-Rigall who along with his faithful dog Steve, is seeking to right the wrongs he feel he has been subjected to. We know that John Hewer has funny bones and it is never more evident than in this performance replete with pratfalls and getting knocked out and trussed up with masking tape. His Scottish accent tends to wander across the glens and the Highlands at times but is generally convincing and gives the character a manic edge necessary in his performance.

Cedric's "faithful" dog, Steve is given life by Joel Howard in a wonderful, though probably incredibly hot costume. He may well need the water in the dog bowl once the theatre lights are beating down on him in performance. His tolerance for playing such a thankless role is rewarded by being given a wonderful twist that I won't share and spoil here. Go and see it for yourselves.

The final performance of the night comes from Jo Cox as the dotty old widow, Edna Davenport. Cox gives a performance remniscent of the wonderful Miriam Margolyes, and is a joy to watch as she roles her eyes and pronounces every last syllable presented to her by the script. I have no doubt that her over-the-top lunacy will have audiences rolling with laughter as it was a delight to watch. She quite literally commands the stage when she appears.

Don't go to see I Spy Brian expecting a cerebral experience that will offer insight into the human condition, but DO go and see it if you want a really good belly-laugh. Rebekah Hardy has created an evening of silly jokes, plot twists and general hilarity. Leave your worries at home and experience this joyous celebration of human daftness!

I Spy Brian is touring from 09 June 2022 at the following venues:

LOUTH Riverhead Theatre - Thu. 9th - Sat. 11th June, 7.30pm 01507 600350 -

FULSTOW Village Hall - Thu. 16th June, 7.30pm 01472 870935 -

GRIMSBY Central Hall - Fri. 17th June, 7.30pm 01472 355025 or 01472 870935 -

WICKENBY Broadbent Theatre - Sat. 18th June, 7.30pm 01673 885500 -

SUTTON-ON-SEA Meridale Centre - Thu. 23rd June, 7.30pm 01507 441481 or 472 870935 -

SKEGNESS Neverland Theatre - Fri. 24th June, 7.30pm 01754 879262 -

Andy Evans 05 May 2022

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