The Flop, Summerhall Main Hall, Review

Rating (out of 5)
Show info
Hijinx in association with Spymonkey
Ben Pettitt-Wade (director) Sami Thorpe (17 & 18 BSL Interpreted performances)
Dan McGowan & Hannah McPake (Music Direction), Tom Ayres (Lighting Designer & Technician), Rebecca Jane Wood (Design and Costumes), Rebecca Jane Jessica Hardy & Amy Barrett (Costume Makers), Toby Park (Composer), Petra Massey, Aitor Basauri (Idiocy Dramaturgs), The Company (Devisors)

Hannah McPake (Aunt & Judge), Jess Mabel Jones (Marie Saint-Simon), Iain Gibbons (Marquis de Longey), Ted Lishman (Grandfather and Midwife), Jonathan Pugh (David)
Adam C Webb (Dominic & Court Warden)

Running time

Hijinx is back at the Fringe and entirely living up to their name. This year the Wales based troupe, whose cast features three learning disabled actors and three non-disabled actors, have teamed up with renowned Brighton based physical comedy company, Spymonkey, for The Flop.

Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin singing Je t’aime…moi non plus takes us to France but The Flop isn’t set in the 1960s but the 1600s. This is a time when impotency is illegal. A suitably stupid Iain Gibbons plays the foppish Marquis De Longey. He and his bride Marie Saint-Simon, played with nothing short of spectacularly saucy comic acting by Jess Mabel Jones, are happy to spoon (with a catalogue of other innocent shenanigans that involve verbal gymnastics if not sexual ones) in bed instead of enjoying ‘rumpity pumpity’. After 4 years, when no baby arrives, Marie’s Aunt, played by a brilliantly funny Hannah McPake, starts to investigate. This leads to a hilarious Trial by Congress, something that actually took place in 17th Century France, though probably without much humour being involved. Zut alors!

The six strong ensemble utterly embraces the chaos and clowning skills brought by their associate Spymonkey in this delicious example of buffoonery. The simple set of regency style panels transform to puppet theatres for these real actors where they can further stretch the bounds of belief in this corny but captivating piece of naughty fun. Costume makers Rebecca Jane, Jessica Hardy and Amy Barrett have created not only rather gorgeous but very clever costumes that accommodate the band’s uniform, yet easily become the bewigged aristos’ attire.

Innuendo is flung out of the window and replaced by plain speaking in rhyme and song with lots of silly puns and some smart ad libbing in between. There are bursts of music from the actors who also form a 6- piece band playing across this idiotic and thoroughly enjoyable farce where the fourth wall is particularly flimsy. Bashful audience members beware!

The Flop is a superb example of quality inclusive theatre from the wonderfully cheeky Hijinx. A flop by name but a Fringe success by nature.

3-26 August (not 13 & 20 August) 4.55pm age recommend 14+