Park Theatre’s latest starry offering is End of the Pier, a new play by Danny Robins. This dark comedy stars Les Dennis, Nitin Ganatra, Tala Gouveia and Blake Harrison.
The play explores the world of comedy from the mostly male stand ups of the 1970s and 80s to the present moment where Twitter gives everyone the chance to make a joke and have it shared, for better or worse. Robins presents the darker side of comedy where laughter can be both cruel and fun. Every generation has its boundaries and targets for its jokes, ‘all comedy needs a victim’.
Dennis plays Bobby, a former national treasure whose star has faded; Harrison is Mike, the nation’s current favourite comedian who has come seeking advice from Bobby. Gouveia is a TV executive and Mike’s girlfriend and Ganatra is Mohammed, a care assistant with a small but vital part to play in this tale.
The play contains stand-up comedy performances with nods to current events alongside tightly written interactions between the characters that explore what happens when you’re not the person everyone thinks you are. As Bobby says, “I used to dream of people remembering my jokes. Now I just wish they’d forget.”
The cast is strong and present a compelling black comedy that touches on some challenging issues in both serious and funny moments. Blackpool is certainly not what it used to be.
Reviewed by Rhiannon Evans
Photo: Simon Annand