Review: Cream Tea and Incest, Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2018 ★★★★☆

Was any cream tea drunk? Nope. Any incest featured? Sadly not. In spite of this initial disappointment, Cream Tea and Incest, from Perecals Productions, is a wonderfully rollicking good time.

The aristocrat Eddie Spangler is in a spot of bother. All he wants are some Rhodesian opium mines and to be with his beloved valet, Jeffrey (but does he know that?), but upon his arrival in York to stay with Lord Wiggins – the man who will soon come to own those Rhodesian opium mines – the evil Biggins, his brother, sets out to thwart the plan and kill Wiggins out of inheritance-based revenge. Chaos ensues.

If you couldn’t surmise from the above description, Cream Tea and Incest is a wonderfully silly show. It’s the kind of storyline which is so absurdist and specific that I don’t really know how the Perecals first conceived of it. What came first – the title or the plot? Why Rhodesia? Who came up with the surname ‘Spangler’ and why is it so good? Whose ingenious idea was it to have the entire set made out of cardboard? Quirky AND cost-effective, a lesson we at Slipshod Theatre have learned painfully), ensuring both scenes and their transitions are whipped to speed.

None of that would be of merit, however, without the impeccably slick performances. Every actor shone with their own little eccentricities: Benjamin Alborough, who also wrote the show, infuses Spangler with maniacal, childlike glee; Eoin McAndrew brings an uptight charm to Jeffrey, the Alfred to Spangler’s Bruce Wayne; Will Beynon’s stately sensibilities help to give Lord Wiggins the regality and humour he deserves, and James King’s incredible vocal range as Biggins left us all certain that he has a very successful career as a voice actor awaiting him. I find myself very much in agreement with The Stage’s review: it is the cast’s energy which propels the show, as opposed to the writing, although Alborough must be congratulated for packing the script with an absurd number of gags and a consistent unique tone.

Cream Tea and Incest is performing at The Space @ Surgeon’s Hall at Edinburgh Festival Fringe, August 9th – 11th, 13th – 18th, and 20th – 25th. If you’re in the mood for some zippy, quirky comedy with fun performances to boot, you’d be hard-pressed to find anything more appropriate than this.

“Romance! Adventure! Murder! Aristocrat Eddie Spangler and valet Jeffrey must learn the meaning of these words and more in this new anarchic comedy set in Edwardian England. Delight in their capers, mix-ups, and the dead bodies left in their wake when a simple matchmaking quest deteriorates into a race against time.”

Filmmaker. Casual Reviewer.