Bond, James Bond

Mon 22nd – Sat 27th August 2011

reviews

Lise McNally

at 16:58 on 22nd Aug 2011

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The idea that anyone should be made to pay five quid to see Bond, James Bond is utterly laughable. And to be honest, it would be by far the biggest laugh you’d get from this show. While I do understand that Jack Brooks’ piece was hardly meant to be taken seriously, that it was supposed to only be a bit of fun, any carefree enjoyment which might have been conferred was lost in the shoddy execution. I’m sorry to say it, but the phrase “piss poor” springs to mind.

In this one man show, Brooks plays a number of characters including the secret agent himself, the perennially blonde love interest, and the Russian villain. His commitment and energy was admirable, but I’m afraid the effort didn’t pay off. The plot was barely discernible, the humour never evolved beyond “boy doing a girl’s silly voice”, and Brooks’ performance left a great deal to be desired. In particular, his vocal delivery was far too fast, often fumbling lines and mispronouncing words (including “lapel”, a slip up which 007 himself could never forgive). Consequently, the plot often got lost as we were left to wonder what on earth he was saying.

As the other characters Brooks was a little improved, especially when playing the love-interest: his own hand in a blonde wig. Nonetheless, it was not enough to justify the ticket price. Indeed, it was not enough to justify ANY ticket price. At a billed 40 minute duration, it was actually closer to 15.

There were also some lighting and sound issues which affected the flow of the performance. Music cut out sharply, and lights alternating between Bond and the empty space representing the villain flickered on and off out of time to Brooks’ actual speech. As a result, his switching between the two voices was brilliantly illuminated for all to see.

My review may sound harsh, but it seems unfair to charge money for such an incomplete show when there are some wonderful productions at the fringe in urgent need of an audience, some of them free. Brooks seemed like a genuinely nice guy, and his physical delivery showed moments of comic promise. However, he really must work on refining his pacing, improving his diction, and developing his script further. Until then, your time and money would be better spent elsewhere.

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Craig Slade

at 21:25 on 22nd Aug 2011

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To say this was a baffling performance would be an understatement. At edfringereview we pride ourselves on the fairness and incisiveness of our reviews – and of our star ratings. We’re told by our bosses that a five star review only applies when, upon walking out of a production, you turn to whoever you can find and exclaim “wow” and cannot stop gushing about how good it was until you’re hoarse. A zero star review, then – by extension – must only apply when, upon leaving a production, you turn to whoever you can find and exclaim “wow” for much less savoury reasons.

Such was the case with Bond, James Bond. Jack Brooks began onstage courting a blonde wig which took the part of Bond’s lover, and spent the production taking on the different characters that populate Bond’s life – Moneypenny, Q, M, and Ernst Stavro Blofeld made an appearance. Fantastic, you may think; everything a bond fan wants from forty minutes of entertainment. Or, at least, the show was billed at forty minutes. What we actually were provided was fifteen minutes. Whether it can be classified as ‘entertainment’ is also dubious.

Brooks repeated a phrase throughout, but it is evident that his understanding of irony is limited. “Charm, sophistication, danger, rationality [and] admirableness” are all qualities (except perhaps danger – to sanity) that Jack Brooks’ performance utterly lacks. Lines were frequently fluffed, the performer appeared nervous, he had none of the wit or charisma of the character he was meant to be portraying, and, what is worse, he frequently forgot where in the ‘script’ he was. In fact, upon reflection, the piece couldn’t have had a script. Brooks jumped so haphazardly from mission to debriefing to womanizing to evil villainous plotting, often repeating the Sean Bean-Pierce Brosnan quip from Goldeneye “For England James?” “For England” – except without any intonation to even suggest it was a two part question.

This was an abysmal show – and yet, tomorrow’s viewing has sold out; charging five pounds for what we saw equates to legal theft. I urge you against buying tickets; watching it made me feel unclean. I have nothing against Brooks, and maybe with some practice he could improve his routine, but, for now, his show is not worth seeing.

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