“Absolute profound happiness in 60 minutes or less”
It’s a big claim for a little show to make but The Quentin Dentin Show gets pretty close in its own unique way. And what a way it is – a bit Rocky Horror, a bit Dale-Winton-presented-Saturday-evening-gameshow, a bit 2am-at-the-Joiners’-Arms, and yet entirely its own thing. Sliding into the late evening slot at the Above the Arts Theatre, it’s that random but tasty slice of musical theatre that you didn’t know you needed at the end of the night.
I can describe the plot – frustrated pharmacist Nat and would-be writer Keith have hit a stumbling block in their relationship, as evidenced by a bowl of bland pasta, but are offered the chance of couples therapy (of sorts) when Keith conjures up a supernatural therapist from inside his radio – but that’s only half the story of Caldonia Walton’s production, which magics up the kind of carefree energy that makes you see why it was a hit in Edinburgh.
Anchored by the zany energy of Luke Lane as the titular man himself, unable to dole out a life lesson unless it is in song, and supported by his droog-like stooges Friends 1 and 2 (a game Lydia Costello and Felix Denton), it’s nigh-on impossible not to get swept up in this seductive strangeness. As he takes the couple on a series of roleplay games and scarcely hides ulterior motives in trying to get them to partake of a special golden pill, Lane makes a striking leading man.
He delivers Henry Carpenter’s book, music and lyrics with panache and expertly toys with the audience, keeping them teetering on the edge of direct interaction which just adds to the fun. Jamie Tibke and Shauna Riley are both good as the bemused victims – of their own apathy as much as external manipulation, as Carpenter subtly suggests – and the 3 man band offer sterling musical support to the toe-tapping score. Great fun.