The Secret of Monkey Island

Mon 22nd – Tue 23rd August 2011


Rowan Evans

at 11:01 on 23rd Aug 2011



I remember teenage friends less fond of daylight than others talking about the game ‘Monkey Island’, pulling out quoted routines very similar to what happens here. I’m sat next to an American who, though looking forward to the show, does think it’ll probably be ‘a little niche’. He warns me which jokes are likely to come up and sure enough the line ‘how appropriate, you fight like a cow’ features heavily. Most of the jokes are simply repeated in different guises. I laugh the first few times as Guybrush Threepwood overly pronounces the title’s grand genitive, but it quickly gets old. There are lines where one sector of the audience giggle enthusiastically, leaving me clueless. Lovely, very silly, but essentially a nerd’s dream, group banter spun out into an hour of pantomime.

Greeting us with some start-screen 12-bit reggae (presumably the original soundtrack), the show does well to recreate the deliberate turn based dialogue of an adventure RPG. The eager pirate-to-be progresses from scene to scene to complete tasks, each with a painted backdrop, probably a faithful recreation of the game environments. A sag-breasted, drag voodoo queen is amusingly grotesque, but many of the cast simply can’t act. While at some moments of bizarre brilliance the bad acting is less important, the comedy is overwhelmingly average. The pirate humour is no more than standard and faintly irritating, despite a captain with a beard like a stuffed calzone and cheers for ‘Grog!’ from backstage straight out of Old Gregg. ‘I feel cheated’, says Guybrush, ‘I guess you guys must too!’ Considering the price of tickets and quality of the show, jokes like this are a bit risky. I’m just doubtful about how funny this can be if you haven’t played the game.

It’s fine for a group of friends to have a laugh with some professional lighting, but probably not worth the money to witness unless you’re a fan of the game, even less so if you have no experience of platformers.


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