The London Welsh Centre houses Untouched Theatre’s adaptation of The Sequel, by Percival Wilde, as part of the Camden Fringe this month. The premise of The Sequel, we are told by the narrator, is to look at what happens after the traditional love story ends. And so we join newly engaged Prince Henry and Princess Anna and watch as the cracks in their relationship appear. These are not characters from a fairy tale. Prince Henry is anything but a hero and the Princess Anna is far from a docile love interest; she is a force to be reckoned with and portrayed excellently by Holly Ashman.
The Sequel begins with the amusing depiction of a relationship that is destined to fail, as the feckless Prince Henry fails to remember when he first met his betrothed and the Princess begins to dissect her lover’s motivations for marriage. However this production begins to loose momentum as the focus moves away from the two charismatic leads.
Untouched Theatre’s production feels like it has had another short script hastily bolted on to it and the convoluted results mean it lacks clarity. The idea that relationships are much more than the brief picture we get in traditional romances is lost amongst the mayhem, especially in the last few minutes where the bewildering finale leads to happy endings for everyone.
Some of the production’s elements show real flair, and the puppet Edgar adds another dimension to the proceedings, playing the amoral sidekick to the fiendish father of Prince Henry. However as with the father, Horrocks INC, Edgar would benefit from greater time on the stage. Their appearances are too few and short to have any impact on the play in general.
Untouched Theatre have promised to provide “cheesy puns, puppetry, and innuendo galore” and whilst the cast are entertaining, the script lets them down. The play is knowing and self-referential but there is perhaps too much exposition which makes it all the more inexcusable when it becomes unclear what is going on.
At times this play is raucously fun but too often it feels cobbled together and disjointed whilst the cultural references seem forced and unnecessary. This is a short play but it feels like it has been stretched out, much to its detriment, and by the end all we are left with are the cheap jokes and no substance.
Reviewed by Sean Morris