Mark Ribbe is Going to Die – 8 December 2018, DINA, Sheffield

***** After being in the audience for their debut production over this year, I was delighted to be in the audience for the opening night of Only Lucky Dogs new play Mark Ribbe is Going to Die, which continues the company’s talent for original and Immersive dark comedy.

Promising to blend gallow humour with the slapstick and stereotypical to re-imagine the classic murder mystery, the play introduces the audience to Mack Ribbe, a detective who doesn’t play by the rules. When he stumbles upon something suspicious, a conspiracy begins to unravel that will take him to places he never expected. There is only one problem, Mack Ribbe is going to die. But could we, the audience see it coming before he does?

Best described as a hilarious cross between Hot Fuzz and a Rebus novel, the play is the perfect dark spoof of British cop television and films, with a hint of sci-fi and James Bond thrown in for good measure, with laugh out loud moments throughout that left the audience in stitches.

The three talented cast members were perfectly cast, brilliantly bringing their main and side characters to life whilst doing their very best to maintain a straight face throughout.

Although Cerys Hayes was superb as Detective Mack Ribbe, combining the male voice, mustache, intelligence, clumsiness, alcohol problem and attitude required to bring the maverick cop allowed on stage; my stand-out performance came from the multi-part playing Jack Cadman who not only showed a talent for improv and bringing to life multiple personalities including the Taggart-inspired Scottish detective inspector and a Doctor Evil from Austin Powers-inspired baddie but also a natural talent for comedy and comedic recovery.

I must also praise the third cast member Lorna Dale, who we last saw in the company’s first production Beaker’s Place, who perfectly captured her junior detective character Rose Huntington’s youth, enthusiasm and eagerness to learn, including from Ribbe’s maverick detective ways, as a female equivalent character to Nick Frost in a certain cop film previously mentioned.

Clearly and cleverly influenced by British cinema and cinematography, stand out moments for me included the cast perfecting the 1930s New York gangster accents for the opening scene before the opening credits; the hilarious slow motion shoot outs, fights and car chases; stage fighting; and boxing ring round like day changes, all thanks to the superb script and direction of Michael Saliba, including my favourite line of the show “no one likes an overcooked Ribbe” and the talented cast and production team. I also loved the multiple unexpected twists at the end, and only wish the show could have been longer.

Clever, witty and thoroughly entertaining, this play should not be missed by anyone who is a fan of spoof comedy and British cinema looking for exceptional new comedic theatre to distract them from the miserable December weather. It may only be the company’s second show, but they are continuing to prove that they have an amazing talent for performing original dark comedy theatre in Sheffield that is well worth going out of your way to see.

Mark Ribbe is Going to Die is on at DINA at 7pm until Monday 10 December. Full price tickets are £8.68 including booking fee and for students £7.59 including booking fee. To book visit www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/mack-ribbe-is-going-to-die-tickets-51706643964.

Established in 2017, Only Lucky Dogs Theatre Company is a student-led theatre company based in Sheffield that aims to deliver the best in original entertainment, tackling fresh new writing with some serious bark, they put energy and excitement centre-stage. For further information like them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pg/onlyluckydogs or follow them on Twitter at https://twitter.com/OnlyLuckyDogs.

P.S. We recommend grabbing a front row sheet for this show so you can be at the very heart of the comedic cop action and as audience members being prepared to come to the theatre with a name, gender and age of a character in mind as the play’s clever use of improv means that the character you put on paper maybe come a random suspect with Jack having to bring them alive on stage, including on the opening night a terrific Mr Blobby impression.

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