The final week already? Wow. What have you seen so far?
What we saw
The best thing about Helen and the Space Rocket are the facts and figures about the Voyager space probe. Lead character Helen, born the day Voyager launched, is rightly blown away by what it has achieved over 30 years in space and agog at how far away from Earth it is, right now en route to inter-stellar space with a bajillion miles to go. A lot of research went into this show and it shows. Unfortunately, actress Lucy Allenby's portrayal of jittery, shy librarian Helen is a bit overwrought and a tad annoying. Helen is an endearing and complex character but the performance glosses over that, seemingly in search of humour, and it backfires. Still, a well written, entertaining and sweet show that we were glad to see. (BC)
James Mason was bleakly brilliant, although we suspect he might be a little bit Marmite — his delivery, somewhere between sniggering and monotone, left some of the late-coming audience visibly cold, but his current affairs material (which they conveniently missed) was top-notch. His momentum was visibly shaken at times, but given a bigger crowd we think he could wow. (JG) (Good job he didn't give up comedy after all... Ed)
Mike Sheer's show Undergod promised much on paper but whilst we'll cut him some slack for the episode of diarrhoea he was suffering from, the show lacked focus and coherence. The opening shot with a character felt weak and the paper clouds he stuck on the walls were never again referred to. Whilst he had odd lines and jokes that worked well and endeared himself to the audience, he hadn't come up with a hook to hang his religious argument on or a thread to stitch his skits together. We'd love to see him do some freestyling stand-up when he's feeling better. (LC)
UPDATE 10.30pm: We just saw Pekka and Strangebone's Comedy Showpiece and thought it was brilliant through and through. Inventive, far, far beyond silly, and with riotous audience interplay, they delivered fast-paced sketches, each more random than the last. Using the comedy staples of pie-throwing and its ilk, they mashed it up with cultural stereotypes that made you wonder what on earth could've inspired it. One to watch. (JB)
What others saw
What to see this week
The final week already? Well make the most of it. Are you a Guardian Reader? Catch musical comedy with Adams and Rea, see puppet satire with the Great Puppet Horn, get Olympic with Swifter, Higher, Stronger, enter the Observatory, discover the Accomplice, do Bright Club on Friday, Il Trovatore is Upstairs at the Gatehouse, agarophobes should try Not Applicable, or maybe a living sitcom with the Pauly Show.
Many thanks to our reviewers Bethany Childs, Joel Golby and Jemma Bicknell.
Browse what's on and book tickets at www.camdenfringe.com