Review: The Mystery of St Finnigan’s Elbow, Pat Whymark and Julian Harries, Eastern Angles, Seckford Theatre, Woodbridge, until January 24

Eastern Angles' The Mystery of St Finnegans Elbow, Samuel Martin and Greg Wagland

Eastern Angles' The Mystery of St Finnegans Elbow, Samuel Martin and Greg Wagland - Credit: Archant

School has never been so much fun. So much so that this an early runner for my favourite show of 2015.

Eastern Angles' The Mystery of St Finnegans Elbow, Francesca Gosling and Alice Mottram

Eastern Angles' The Mystery of St Finnegans Elbow, Francesca Gosling and Alice Mottram - Credit: Archant

Mixing Mallory Towers, 1930s action thrillers, Ealing comedy and a splash of Father Ted it’s a sublimely silly tale set in a nun run girls boarding school, where the theft of an ancient relic exposes all manner of shenanigans.

Whymark and Harries are dab hands at pulling well known genres apart and then mashing them back together for optimum laughs without losing what we loved about them in the first place.

The way this show plays with those original conventions, letting the audience in on the joke from the start and even pointing out the absurdity of it all is a joy to watch.

The gags are incredibly inventive, ranging from frantic farce to witty wordplay and back again in the blink of an eye.

Ensors partner Robert Hatch joins the cast of The Mystery of St Finnigan’s Elbow.

Ensors partner Robert Hatch joins the cast of The Mystery of St Finnigans Elbow. - Credit: Archant


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A throwaway line involving fish fingers, delivered deliciously deadpan, still had us laughing on the way home.

I take my wimple off to the fantastic cast of Francesca Gosling, Joe Leat, Alice Mottram, Samuel Martin and Greg Wagland - all of whom were on multiple role duty.

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They were clearly having as much fun as the audience and mastered the challenges of the material brilliantly.

It feels a sin to single individuals out, but I’ve a feeling Reverend Mother in particular won’t mind.

Leat as said convent leader and Gosling as schoolgirl sleuth Alicia Trumptington 15-and-three-quarters were particularly good.

Add super staging and perfect pacing to the mix and you’ve got yourself a winner.

Don’t be late for class.

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