Director Wallis Byrne Mattavers is trying to finish his latest horror ‘masterpiece’, ‘Rosemary’s Toddler’, but there's a problem: leading lady Viviene Stone has died. Disappearing props, affairs, an escaped chimpanzee and a haunted set are just some of the additional disasters to unfold, as the cast and crew frantically try to finish the accursed movie.
The show begins with segment from a 1950 Viviene Stone classic, ‘Darling Daisy Do!’. Stone is performing a song-and-dance number with three much-maligned backing dancers dressed up as flowers. Fast forward to 1973, and we are on the set of the latest Stone movie – but the leading lady herself has unfortunately been run over by a bus, leaving the film in limbo with only one scene left to shoot. The cast is assembled in a desperate attempt to finish the movie, thanks to Stone look-alike Ronnie.
What follows is a farce of epic proportions. Stone’s co-stars are having an affair. Leading man Mick Salad’s chimpanzee is causing issues in his marriage to assistant Laura. Judy, another actress, can’t find her hat, and wants to find a way to add promotional cleaning sponges into the movie. Ronnie – wearing a dead woman’s dress – keeps having disturbing things happen to her whenever she is alone. The production is running low on money, a very noisy sword-and-sandal film is being filmed on the stage next door, and a vital goblet keeps going missing. All of this culminates in a climatic finale featuring, of course, another song-and-dance number.
On either side of the set are giant televisions that serve a multitude of purposes. Firstly, pre-recorded pieces show action taking place in the corridor outside the set, providing the cast time to make a number of their numerous costume changes. They also provide playback, which combined with some special effects, deliver some of the spooky moments on the haunted set. Their use requires perfect timing and choreography by the cast and they don’t put a foot wrong.
The pace of the show is unrelenting and some of the jokes fly by with little notice, but the next one is never far behind. Several of the characters can grate on the nerves a little bit, but again, there are so many and they are all constantly coming and going that none completely outstay their welcome.
Kill the Beast: Director’s Cut is a fantastic farce. The cast are clearly having a ball, and the frenetic pace will leave you gasping by the time everything is wrapped up at the end.