MARK WAREHAM SHOW OF THE WEEK
For 15 long years, devotees endured a League Of Gentlemen famine. Then, in 2017, a feast was declared in the nightmarish town of Royston Vasey and the twisted characters were resurrected for three TV specials. Now comes the live tour, their first in 12 years.
The first half is a blast from the past. The three Gents – Mark Gatiss, Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith – take a minimalist approach in black tie, running through classic sketches with no sets and barely a prop. Cringeing theatre-in-education company Legz Akimbo reprise Perve Swerve, their play about ‘stranger danger’, before the trio sit down for the baffling card game Go Johnny Go Go Go Go. It feels like their debut 20 years ago. Taut scripts, brilliantly acted, black as tar. Post-interval, the League’s defining duo, the grotesque sibling-spouses Tubbs and Edward take up the story from the last TV special, with Tubbs trapped down the terrifying Papa Lazarou’s ‘wife mine’.
A musical number heralds an hour of dazzling new material, a blizzard of costume changes and hightech set pieces.
Even when they opt for broad farce, you can only marvel at the relentlessness of their jam-packed smut-athon.
As Tubbs and Edward face down Papa Lazarou in an explosive finale, life in the troubled northern town is back to its gruesome best.