Pleading Stupidity at the Hen and Chickens (Camden Fringe)

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Inspired by the true story of the “Dumb and Dumber” bandits, ‘Pleading Stupidity’ is an hilarious new comedy from Maybe You Like It Productions. Written and directed by Caleb Barron, the show is a rollercoaster ride packed with ridiculous situations and hilarious characters, with the multiple roles being taken on by an intrepid and brilliant cast of four: James Akka, Ellie Cooper, Gemma Daubeney and Barney Newman.

Brad and Chad decide to rob a bank while wearing jackets with their name tags on. It isn’t the best plan and the police identify the offenders in record time. What is a defence attorney to do in this situation, but plead stupidity?

This is a magnificently playful production that would be nigh on impossible not to enjoy. It leans into the chaos that comes from the fast pacing of the show, with any real time bloopers being owned as part of the overall flow and personality of the play.

I believe (from social media) that tonight’s final show is sold out, although it may be worth checking if there are tickets at the door if you are local to the Hen and Chickens. It is a total hoot, but what makes it even more satisfying is there is a serious message within it. Comedy is a brilliant way to address much needed truths about the state of the world in a palatable way. Writer/director Caleb Barron successfully walks the tightrope of creating a laugh out loud comedy that has a clear point of view about its subject matter but without slipping into preachiness. It really is elegantly done!

I am optimistic that this show will have a future life, as there are so many more audiences out there who would delight in it as much as I did. I will definitely be keen to hear about any of Maybe You Like It Productions future shows. If they are as good as this one, they will go very far.

Covid protections in place at the venue:

Hen & Chickens has hand sanitiser readily available. Masks do not seem to be required wearing and socially distanced seating isn’t requested. If you are going for one of the later showings, the pub does get very busy, so not for anyone nervous about crowds and unmasked strangers spitting words barely inches from your face. It is a testament to the quality of the show that it totally distracted me from my own feelings of anxiety, as it was in the busiest 9pm slot. I must confess that I was very close to legging it before it began, but I am so glad I didn’t.

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