Flywheel, Saints and Superheroes

Review in Issue 19-1 | Spring 2007

The first outing for Saints and Superheroes was full of promise: a ten-minute slot at the One O’Clock Scratch in Edinburgh in August 2005 which featured a wildly anarchic performance from Ed Gaughan as a batty Roman Catholic priest (Dave Allen for a new century), loopy films of The Incredible Hulk fallen on hard times and caught on camera down the local pub, and a gorgeous rendition of the Velvet Underground’s Jesus. Seeing the final production is a disappointment. All the ‘development’ seems to have knocked the stuffing out of the piece. Basically, it was all there in that original ten minutes. There’s been nothing gained by stretching it out into a full-length show, laboured over for more than a year, as this has resulted in every idea being overplayed, diluted to the nth degree. Gone is the razor-sharp delivery, and in comes laboured exchanges with in-built pauses and over-egged punchlines. There’s a kind of soupy onstage relationship between the two characters (priests isolated together in a lighthouse) and a weak critique of Catholicism that makes you want to sit down with a DVD of Father Ted to remind yourself how it should be done. There is also a coy subtext on men alone together and repressed homosexuality that is so horrendously patronising and old-fashioned that it is hard to imagine how it was ever allowed to remain in the mix.

If ever something has suffered from too much time to fiddle with material, this surely is it. I reckon that being apprenticed to Barry Cryer and put up against the clock to come up with next week’s show would do Flywheel more good than any number of months or years ‘scratching’ at BAC.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Oct 2006

This article in the magazine

Issue 19-1
p. 25