The Sword and the Dope
The Sword and the Dope at Waterloo East Theatre
The Sword and the Dope is an original musical which has been described as a cross between Monty Python (think Spamalot), Drop Dead Donkey and Blackadder with some panto elements dropped in for good measure. It takes us back to the time of King Arthur and the Knights of the round table but with a ton of relevant political commentary peppered around. The story itself is really inconsequential to the show which focuses on sillyness, the comedy and the political satire.
The show often felt that it had lots of threads and characters running through the storyline. These were hard to keep track of and not always relevant or needed within the story. The highlights of the show are the moments where the tongue is firmly in the cheek with references to Brexit, May and Corbyn. Whilst all parties are the butt of some jokes (even the Greens and Liberal Democrats), Brexit and May are the flavour of the show. The jokes are current with the recent general election providing a lot of material. If there are to be future editions of the show I would like to see even more focus on this and some of the older gags dropped in favour for more political satire.
The cast of the Sword and the Dope were varied. It boasts that it stars Stevi Ritchie of X-Factor ‘fame’ and Stacey Franks, formerly of S Club Jrs (just a few years older now). Stacey played her part well ranging from Sir Lancelot to one of the gaggle of girls doing their best TOWIE impression and was always watchable. Stevi was less convincing with an odd pout plastered across his face whenever he wasn’t talking. Jack Harding was an enjoyable King Arthur and had good comedy timing. Some other cast members felt a bit superfluous and trimming the cast down could have assisted with the staging of the larger numbers in a small space.
Some of the musical numbers were amusing however the ones that worked the best were once again the ones that were relevant politically. I would however struggle to sing you a line from any of them today. The large production numbers focused on choreography. Whilst some members of the cast were lovely dancers the dance school style of choreography jarred with the style of production. More thought needs to go into this with humour injected into this side of things.
Do not go to The Sword and the Dope expecting a slick production. The show is very much rough round the edges with work needed on the storyline and some more ear worms developed to compliment show. The show does have potential, especially if the relevant political commentary is developed.