Cornwall vs China is written by Daniel Hallissey and directed by Danny Wainwright. Their previous collaboration, Dracula had five star reviews at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, followed by a successful transfer to the King’s Head Theatre in London. They’re hoping to follow that with a comedy set in a world where Cornwall has voted to leave the UK and go it alone.
Independent Cornwall is no longer eligible for funds from the EU and the international trade in pasties is plummeting. Sam, the newly elected President of Cornwall quickly realises that he can’t run a country on pasties alone and needs to find another source of finance. Enter Clive and his genius plot: “We declare war on Wednesday, surrender by Friday and are all rich by next week”. When the plan is to go to war and lose, the target needs to be China for the maximum access to war relief.
The cast of six take us through a ludicrous plot that jumps from Truro to China and back again. Hapless President Sam (Wesley Griffith) is out of his depth and seeks advice from the devious Clive (David Frias-Robles) and the glamorous Lisa (Angelica-Rose Penn) who, inexplicably, speaks Chinese. The cast is completed with stereotypical Cornish men, Merryn and Jarleth (Charlie Bedford and Daniel Hallissey) and Angelo Paragoso as Chinese leader, Premier Ping.
This didn’t work for me; maybe it’s too soon for a post-Brexit comedy.
Reviewed by Rhiannon Evans
CORNWALL VS CHINA plays at The Vaults until 19 February 2017