City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

The Most Serious Ailments of St. Krank's, Bedlam Theatre, Review

By Kenneth Scott - Posted on 07 August 2014

The Most Serious Ailments of St. Krank's (cast)
Show details
Bedlam Theatre
Babolin Theatre in association with Worboys Productions
Running time: 
Alex Scott (director), Richard Fredman (writer), Sam Worboys (producer) Tom Penn (composer).
Dom Gowland, Phoebe Gilderdale, Eden Harbud, Michael Holden, Holly Marsden, Rachael Naylor, Camilla Norris, Katheryn Salmond, Sian Shannon Sinclair, Harriet Spivey, Zoe Villiers.

England, Oh England! You float upon the sea and look up at the sky, beaches curving like a smile, if the ocean was an oyster, you would be that oyster’s pearl.

This paraphrases the eccentric and hyperbolic introduction given by Dr Cornelius Cricket, the gnomic, Germanic director of St Krankendspiegel's Hospital.

But wait, let your mind skim over England’s hills to pin down one particular town, the home of St Krank’s. Great Yarmouth. And here to sing the praises of the town are the Men of Yarmouth, moustachioed members of the local running club, all high-stepping healthy bravado accompanied by thigh slapping and cries of lawks and crikey.

Amongst the many attractions of their beloved town is the pier, held in almost spiritual reverence, the main pleasure of which is to walk to the end of it and then ... walk back again.

Excitement surrounds the arrival of young trainee doctor Jenkin from distant and exotic London. Enthusiastic, naive and guileless he introduces the notion of an accident to the bemused runners - surely not in Yarmouth.

And indeed the most serious ailments don’t seem to be treated too seriously, from a stubbed toe to the case of a wandering spleen. The staff are under the stern control of Dr Cricket and in thrall to the titular 8th century German saint who performed miraculous cures on others at the expense of the loss of his own soul. The destiny of young Jenkin and the hospital will become intertwined, but will have the strength to overcome his fears, take risks and become a Man of Yar ?

On paper it makes no sense, on stage it is nonsense, complete madness. Magnificent and gleeful foolishness that sees the cast become balletic nurses, an end of pier carnival and perform German opera and epic sea shanties. Performances are wonderfully over the top with Pythonesque moments.

But behind the madness is the method. The craft that is employed is evident when the cast sing unaccompanied in a bare black box theatre, below a single naked light bulb - and it’s glorious.

Hurrah! - It’s enough to make you grow a moustache - yes, you too ladies.

Show Times: 4 - 9 August 2014 at 3pm.

Ticket Prices: £9 (£7).

Suitability: PG