Ducktastic, Albery, London
Sunday 23 October 2005
Now, their pranks might sink like a stone if you really weren't in the mood for sheer silliness, and I did tire slightly of Foley who - playing the overweening apprentice to McColl's flailing illusionist - prances around once too often in a silver bodystocking like a Martian twerp. But this duo have an irrepressible ebullience which charms and carries you along, even when you're groaning at their gleefully awful puns or wondering how the whole thing hangs together - flipping, as it does, between backstage ego-battles, talking-bird fantasies and an onstage spectacular hotchpotch of creation myths with disappearing tricks thrown into the mix.
In fact, while it has the craziness of a dream, there's an intriguing, possibly autobiographical element in this tale about stardom going to one's head, and many of the vignettes are irresistibly funny, with a mock-portentous voiceover by Al Pacino, live ducks randomly dashing across stage and McColl, at one point, dancing around the Garden Of Eden in a voluminous naked-lady suit, grinning madly. Teasing games are played with plants in the audience, some farcically blatant. Foley himself starts off in the front row, with a large, spotlit, potted yukka in his lap. There are lots of genuinely wizard tricks, orchestrated by the aptly named Simon Drake. The supporting cast, directed by Kenneth Branagh, are perky too, including Liz Crowther gamely being sucked into a chest of drawers head first. Ducktastic ought to be a popular hit unless, of course, avian flu comes to town and spoils everyone's fun.
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