REVIEW: DONT WAKE THE DAMP (Soho Theatre) ★★★★

Don't Wake The DampI’m not 100% sure what I thought I was going to be watching when I turned up at the Soho theatre on a drizzly night, but I can guarantee that I certainly wasn’t expecting what Kill The Beast had created. Their new show Don’t Wake the Damp took me completely off guard but by gum I loved it!

Taking inspiration from low budget cult sci-fi TV shows rom the late 70s & early 80s, Kill The Beast have created a show that is part loving tribute, part parody and completely mad but in the best possible way. Opening with a ‘previously on’ style opening introducing Captain Fantasmo and his trusty and busty side-kick Boobs, the main characters on a space travel show called The Crystal Continuum. Fast forward to the year 2030 and Boobs is now living in block of flats… where the damp is rising.

From here on in it was an absolute joy to watch. Even though my face may have been pulled into an expression of confusion at the mad but expertly crafted plot line, I couldn’t help but giggle at the snappy one liners and oddball surrealism. In Kill the Beast’s alternative reality, the local council are actually a secret organisation of monster hunters whose sole purpose in life is to destroy ‘The Damp’, which is actually a multi-tentacle ooze beast. “Why else would we tear down poor peoples homes only to replace them with luxury flats. It doesn’t make sense!” cries David Cumming’ weasely council employee who has come to kick the ageing Boobs out of her house.

The writing on this show is damn clever but it is equally matched by innovative design and staging. Alex Purcell’s Animation smacks of 90s video games and old Saturday morning TV shows, really routing the show in fun. Personally, I was most impressed by composer Felix Hagan & the Company’s songs. From synthesised 80s theme tunes to a sinister but catchy mantra to demolishing damp infested buildings, each was catchy in its own unique way and really raised the bar on the production.

I’m not sure what I expected entering theatre, but what I got was absolutely brilliant; Bat-sh*t bonkers but that’s the way I like it!

Reviewed by Roz Carter