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A BATCH OF LAUGHS

Print Version

BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH MUST DIE
Written by Abby Howells
Co-directed by Caitlin McNaughton and Alex Wilson
Presented by Discharge

at BATS Theatre (Out Of Site), Cnr Cuba & Dixon, Wellington
From 19 Jun 2014 to 28 Jun 2014

Reviewed by Laurie Atkinson, 23 Jun 2014
originally published in The Dominion Post

It must have been difficult to have been a devoted fan in the days before the internet. How did the fans of Sinatra, Elvis, and all the others manage to keep up with what was happening in the lives of their idols? 

There was a crisis on Tumblr the other day when it was announced that heartthrob Benedict Cumberbatch has a girlfriend.

The announcement of this gossip began with “Quick! Gather up all the Cumberbitches (the name used by his devoted fans), drop them in California and tell them again that the husband in their head has a new piece so they can cry their weight out in Cumberbitch tears and the drought will be over!”

Abby Howells' entertaining hour-long comedy begins before Sherlock was supposedly attached to some “new piece”. In fact he might even appear at Bats as a front row seat is reserved for him to attend the inaugural meeting of the Wellington branch of the N.Z. Cumberbatch People (bitches was dropped because the term might offend).

Rather confusingly the meeting actually takes place in Clarissa's shrine-like bedroom. Only two fans turn up to Clarissa's meeting but they are no less devoted to their idol and are prepared to be bossed around by Clarissa, who has insists they sit a quiz to see how devout they are.

Then she reveals that he is actually coming to Wellington. He must be entertained and a show in his honour must be created. We watch their attempts at show biz as Genevieve and Tamara squabble, dream the impossible and reveal their innermost desires as Clarissa tries to keep things under control and going her way.

But then reality sets in and they realise that he won't be coming and some foreign Cumberbitch will get to him and therefore he must die. Their methods for getting rid of him are hilarious.

Caitlin McNaughton (Clarissa), Abby Howells (Genevieve) and Kate Schrader (Tamara) are a good comedy team and they keep this light-as-a- feather farce floating in the air with consistent characterisations and good humour. The audience roared its approval throughout.
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 John Smythe