The raucous comedy, Village Idiot, written by Samson Hawkins, was performed at Nottingham Playhouse. The play incorporated musical numbers, magic, drag and stand-up onto the stage whilst the story gave a unique perspective into the lives of villagers amidst gentrification progression. Impact’s Kyra Patterson reviews.
Village Idiot depicts the family feuds surrounding the differing opinions about the HS2 railway being built. Potty-mouthed Barbara, played by Eileen Nicholas, wants to fight to keep her home in Syresham and will do all the spying and gossiping it takes so she doesn’t end up in a “death camp” (i.e. a nursing home).
I found the cast to be fittingly diverse as Faye Wiggan and Maximillian Fairley, who played cutesy couple, Debi and Harry, depicted what the lives of disabled people can entail. They warmed up the crowd in the prologue by being extremely explicit from the outset of the show. A poignant moment I found in the play was a scene where the pair express the grievances they endure as people with disabilities, from being expected to be dependent and follow others, to how they aren’t allowed to make their own mistakes because others make them for them. Hawkins champions diversity by allowing the audience into the shoes of these misunderstood characters.
His farmer accent transformed the entire space into the green pastures of Syresham
Another actor who delivered was Mark Benton, who played the cheeky, loveable dad, Kevin. His farmer accent transformed the entire space into the green pastures of Syresham. The authenticity with which he played Kevin emphasised even more the effects of capitalism and gentrification on the hard-working country folk who built this country and the treatment of the working class in society.
The outstanding performance of the night came from actor Joseph Langdon, who played Liam: simple-minded yet dashing, emotional but laddish, and genuinely hilarious. Not only did his one-liners amuse the crowd, but his heartfelt declaration of love won over their hearts. I believe he deserves the utmost respect for his portrayal of a young hard-working man dealing with the struggles of poverty whilst also keeping a secret.
This audaciously offensive comedy was a thoroughly enjoyable watch
Aside from the main plot line, the stage doubled as Syresham’s Got Talent. This worked as the comic relief much needed from the main themes of class, race, gender identity, sexuality and disability. During this immersive village show, the audience witnessed musical numbers, a Cher drag act from actor Philip Labey, and a drill rap performance about environmental rights from Langdon.
I found that Hawkins played up to the controversial current affairs in British culture and politics by including entertaining quips about the royal family, Brexit and the sentiment towards the haughty city-folk commonly referred to in the play as “the townies”. Consideration of these kinds of topics made for many relatable jokes.
This audaciously offensive comedy was a thoroughly enjoyable watch. After seeing Village Idiot, I would highly recommend others to check out more work from Samson Hawkins!
Village Idiot will end on 25th March 2023. You can purchase tickets at https://nottinghamplayhouse.co.uk/events/village-idiot/.
Featured image courtesy of Alex Watkin. Permission to use granted to Impact. No changes were made to this image.
For more content including uni news, reviews, entertainment, lifestyle, features and so much more, follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like our Facebook page for more articles and information on how to get involved.