Theatre Review - The Frogs

Aitor Basauri and Toby Park [Manuel Harlan]

CARL Grose and Spymonkey’s irreverent take on Aristophanes’ The Frogs bears only a passing resemblance to the classic Greek comedy.

The physical theatre company used to be four, but Petra Massey moved to Las Vegas and associate artist Stephan Kreiss died in 2021. This is a homage, of sorts, to both.

Toby Park and Aitor Basauri decide to go it alone as a double act. They are aided by Jacoba Williams’ eccentric billionaire who commissions Spymonkey to create a touring version of The Frogs and insists that they include her niece.

Sporting an array of costumes and wigs, Dionysus (Park) and his slave Xanthias (Basauri), travel to Hades to find the playwright Euripides and bring him back from the dead.

Along the way they have to overcome various obstacles thrown up by the gods and monsters played by Williams (dressed in Lucy Bradridge’s increasingly elaborate costumes).

There’s song, dance and slapstick, a couple of detours into other plays and plenty of breaking the fourth wall.

In a series of “scenes between the scenes” their mission changes and the hapless pair resolve to try and rescue their pal Stephen from the underworld.

Deliberately overacted and slapdash, director Joyce Henderson makes no attempt to rein in the chaos.

Although uneven and occasionally overindulgent, it’s hard to resist the production’s charm and pathos.

Until March 2

Originally published by Camden New Journal