Review: Infamous, Jermyn Street Theatre - a light introduction to a richly interesting woman
Review: Octopolis, Hampstead Theatre - Academics, an octopus and David Bowie

Review: It's Headed Straight Towards Us, Park Theatre - fun but lacking in bite

Samuel West (Hugh)  Nenda Neururer (Leela) and Rufus Hound (Gary) in It's Headed Straight Towards Us at the Park Theatre small. Pamela Raith Photography (041)
Samuel West (Hugh), Nenda Neururer (Leela) and Rufus Hound (Gary) in It's Headed Straight Towards Us, Park Theatre 2023. Pamela Raith Photography

Actor Hugh Delavois (Samuel West) has never made it big but has a steady stream of bit-part work. Meanwhile, drama-school chum Gary Savage's (Rufus Hound) star burned Hollywood bright for a while but has since faded under a cloud of being a drunk and unreliable.

Hugh is jealous of Gary's catalogue of past roles while despising his reckless and unpredictable behaviour. Gary sees Hugh as uptight and an uninspired performer.

In It's Headed Straight Towards Us, these frenemies are thrown together while filming on location on the side of a volcano in Iceland.

It is Hugh who has the more significant role and the bigger Winnebago, and Gary, when he remembers where he is, behaves like he's the biggest name on the film's poster.

When a natural disaster cuts them off from the rest of the unit and leaves them isolated, it is 21-year-old runner Leela (Nenda Neururer) who has to keep the peace while trying to manage their 'rescue'.

It's an interesting time to be watching a comedy set in the entertainment industry, given the news headlines surrounding a certain comedian/actor.

While some did, I couldn't laugh at Gary's lecherous behaviour towards Leela, even if it's intended by writers Ade Edmonson and Nigel Planer as a satirical poke at 'old school' behaviour.

Also lacking in satirical mirth are Gary's quips about Hugh's sexuality. It made the play feel old.

Hugh's darker side is his hierarchical snobbishness. He keeps it under wraps most of the time, but it lurks in the odd throwaway remark, such as referring to Leela as 'the staff'.

The funnier material is in the backstage bitching and behind-the-scenes insight into the film and theatre industry. The staging is also impressive, with the Winnebago showing the effects of nature's power as disaster looms. 

However, It's Headed Straight Towards Us isn't sharp enough or quite silly enough; there is a smattering of good laughs, but it lacks guffaws to make it a great new comedy.

I'm giving it ⭐️⭐️⭐️

It's Headed Straight Towards Us, Park Theatre

Written by Adrian Edmonson and Nigel Planer

Directed by Rachel Kavanaugh

Starring Samuel West and Rufus Hound

Running time: 2 hours, including an interval.

Booking until 21 October; for more information and to buy tickets, visit the Park Theatre website

This was a press ticket.

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