02:45PM, Tuesday 02 April 2019
Until Saturday April 6
Theatre Royal Windsor
Over writing – not underwriting – is the usual risk in comedy but this new play takes on the murkily grey world of insurance – and it pays out.
Cautious Seymour (Nick Hancock) is about to make the pitch of his life via a conference call when someone breaks into his house.
Hapless burgler Marvin (the superb Paul Bradley) is also feeling the pressures of work. He's got dodgy knees and a sensitive pet octopus named Terry who misses him if he's away too much.
Soon Marvin and his pet are making themselves at home managing to disarm Gloria, Seymour's neurotic wife and dreaming of a brilliant insurance scam.
By the time we meet Marvin's crime boss (played by Eric Richard with fine severity) and Virginia (Gillian Bevan), CEO of the world's biggest insurance company, dishonesty is the best policy to keep everyone happy – and safe.
Forget burglaries and scams, Carolyn Backhouse is the one who really steals the show as overwrought Gloria.
Despite some good one-liners, the play takes a while to get going but when all five performers are on stage, it really takes off with laugh-out-loud moments. There's something a little old-fashioned about Octopus Soup, despite its clever use of conference calls and CCTV – but it's nice to see a proper well-crafted comedy taking a bite at big business and responsibility.
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