Bobby & Twenk is a new comedy from Brian S Charity, a graduate of the Everyman Young Writers programme, that describes itself as “Cagney and Lacey on very strong drugs”. This ends up being rather true, as sitting in the front row of this hour long play is something akin to being the only sober one at a house party
at two in the morning.
Leave common sense at the door for Bobby & Twenk and you’ll be just fine. A fun, very daft and sometimes meta riff on cop shows, television and advertising, it tells the tale of a bungling duo put on a case to find a runaway child (Sean Fitzpatrick). Setting the play as a mid-season episode (complete with a strong ‘previously on’ recap joke at the start) is quite an interesting idea that saves Charity the effort of having to actually devise and solve a mystery with any tension, and concentrate instead on a whole mishmash of slapstick, parody, fourth-wall breaking, audience tormenting, and throwaway gags.
Bobby (Shawney Ross) is the serious one no-one likes, while Twenk (a bubbly Becky Brooks) is a cartoonish idiot whose motivations make little sense, comedic or otherwise – the strange name is never explained. Jackie Jones’s character-breaking boss is a fun take on a theatrical trope and cop show cliche.
A couple of funny ‘ad breaks’ mock everything from pompous perfume commercials to gaudy bingo sites. This creates a sketch show type feel -there’s a sense of improv in some sections- that works well to keep the energy going. Director Mark Till also stars and has a solid stage presence.
There are some good ideas in Bobby & Twenk and fun to be had – a Scooby Doo-style chase scene is well done – but with little resembling a credible plot and a humour that is all over the shop, there’s a sense this show, in this current state at least, is throwing everything at the wall to see what sticks.