Theatre Review: Barking in Essex

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Superbreak’s Marketing Director, Darren Neylon hit London’s West End last week for an evening of hilarious entertainment at Wyndhams Theatre. Read on to find out if Barking in Essex’s all star cast lived up to their billing…

Comical legends Lee Evans and Sheila Hancock star in Barking in Essex in London’s West End this autumn

I’ve just emerged from a hilarious evening with Superbreak at the new West End Comedy, Barking in Essex. What a funny show! It’s certainly not for those easily offended by bad language, but is certainly palatable for those looking for a great fun night out.

Barking was the last play written by Clive Exton before his death from brain cancer in 2007. He wrote popular TV series such as Poirot, Jeeves & Wooster and Rosemary & Thyme. I’m sure if he was still alive he would have updated some of the content for recent celebrity events but the show still stands up hugely well as it is. Everything about this show is funny, including the opening gaudy Essex setting which was so naff it took a little while to absorb!

Barking stars funnyman turned actor, Lee Evans, who despite being slightly shackled from his normal hyper-active comedy by the show’s script, still kept his audience entertained from start to finish. He opened the show in pain after a ‘kick in the goolies’ and was the last to leave the stage at the end with a gun in his hand. I’ve always liked Keeley Hawes as an actress, particularly in Spooks and Ashes to Ashes, and she lived up to her billing with a great performance. Her Essex accent sounded a bit dodgy at times but her character was an excellent match up alongside Evans. The character who stood out for me was Sheila Hancock who played Emmie Packer, the mother of Lee Evans’ character, Darnley Packer. The script seemed perfectly written for her and her portrayal of a swearing, misguided, well-intentioned but ultimately criminal Essex mum was hilarious. I won’t repeat some of her lines here because the Editor would not allow it but there were many memorable classics.

This is not just a parody to be enjoyed by those who like to watch TV shows like The Only Way is Essex. The actors, script and setting are far better than that, and it would appeal to anyone up for a serious laugh. Having said that, the ending is different to what you would expect, but I’ll leave you to find out that for yourself. Please take a look at the options available through Superbreak to see this fantastic show, it is certainly memorable entertainment and would make for a great weekend in London.

Have you seen Barking in Essex yet? If not, make sure you don’t miss out on tickets for this incredible show!

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