"They’re bad as in evil, not rubbish," we are assured by Doktor James, as he concocts his latest plan to take over the world and become the best super-villain ever. Well hopefully. But it looks like he will need some help from the audience in this loud, engaging, mad-cap show.
It is hard to be a super-villain – and even harder when your brother, Jamesman, is the world's best super-hero. So when the evil rankings come out and Doktor James finds out he is bottom, he decides to take action. Consulting the pocket-sized Big Book Of Skemes, and with the help of some audience members, the Doktor hatches a series of plans – from forming a band to creating a clone army – with chaotic, hilarious and absurd results.
Doktor James (James Bennison) and Timion the Minion (Timothy Goose), with the help of some videos under the guise of Skype and breaking news segments, create a well-written parody of the usual superhero tale. They recruit the audience to help in their really bad schemes, and even bravely ask some of the children how they would take over the world (answers ranged from slapping someone round the head to taking over the Illuminati).
Encouraging children to scream, shout and giving them instruments has the potential to go very wrong – so it is a credit to the writers and performers that the audience was so engaged, and the cast maintained control throughout. Both James and Timothy have “the look” to keep children (and adults) at just the right level of naughty, and the ability for the most part to stay in character despite things not going to plan.
The piece’s excellent rhythm, mixing the double act with videos, volunteers and audience participation, effortlessly keeps everyone’s attention. The videos allow for more characters to appear and are generally well done, except for a few notable green screen fails with Jamesman’s green cape and Doktor Jane’s reflective glasses. Amongst the absurdity there is a good storyline and its humour has a wide appeal for both children and adults.
This is not a show for people who just like to watch or hide at the back, and it certainly gets very loud, which might bother some people. And as a lot of the humour is verbal as opposed to visual, it is better suited to children who can understand English well; the straight minute of bee based puns was beautifully groan-worthy.
While this is very much a children’s show, much like a pantomime, everyone can embrace their childish side. Join in, enjoy some pun-ishment and leave with a big grin from laughing so hard. This show is really good – and that's "good" as in "fun", definitely not "well-behaved"!