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Theatre review: Barking In Essex


What is it? The premiere of the late Clive Exton’s 2005 foul-mouthed comedy about a family of hapless Essex criminals, starring Lee Evans, Sheila Hancock, and Keeley Hawes.

The Independent says: “It’s a promising premise for a black farce, but Exton’s stop-go plotting and the sagging patches in Harry Burton’s production prevent the material from developing any comic momentum … What you’re left with is crude, relentless mockery of the Essex brigade’s stupidity and skewed materialist values.” 

They say: The Telegraph: “Wonderfully funny. Imagine a cross between Mike Leigh’s Abigail’s Party and Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs … not a show that will appeal to everyone, but those who like their comedy black, blue, and raucous will have a ball.”

What's on Stage: “So bad it’s almost a collector’s item … just irredeemably and gloriously bad. There are no other contestants in this year’s ‘Worst Play of the Year’ category: this has scooped the pool already!”

You say: @kitrey50: “May be the funniest play I have ever seen. Like EastEnders on steroids.”

@WildWebWhispers: “Poke yourself in the eye, or clean the toilet, you’ll enjoy it far more”

Details: to 4 Jan; barkinginessex.co.uk.