Number, Please – 10 July 2019, The Local Theatre, Sheffield

With less than a month to go to this year’s Edinburgh Fringe we were delighted to send one of our new reviewers Melanie Hopkins to review a preview show of farcical comedy and 1950s spy film satire in Sheffield before it heads up to Edinburgh next month.

“Branded as a ‘Monty Python’/’The 39 Steps’ style (but with roles for women!) performance, this comedic piece of theatre did not disappoint!

Paprichoo showed us tonight at the Local Theatre in Sheffield with their performance titled; “Number, Please” that classic humour is at it’s finest when done with sophistication, slapstick and scintillating sarcasm.

I went to see the ‘relaxed performance’ version of their piece, which might I say is a fantastic idea for a touring theatre group to adopt, meaning accessibility for all! The introduction done beautifully that prepared us for a great night of constant scene-changing, action-packed thrills detailing a young lady named Sheila Chadwick working as a switchboard operator and her descent into undercover plots and trickery!

Reminiscent of old spy films, the piece was set in 1952 with all actors nailing the RP British dialect from the moment the first word was spoken. I have to commend them all on their fabulous role swapping skills and accent work; truly believable characters, each funnier than the last. The Scottish housemaid was a highlight of the night, particularly for the (I presume) improvisation during her short scene and staying fully committed to the character.

I thought the storyline was strong and thrilling throughout, with great differences of fast-paced, heart racing chases and nail biting moments of hanging on to the edge of your seat, to add depth to the performance. I thought the movement of the piece was fantastic and always keeping us entertained and laughing, particularly from the ladies! They really weren’t lying when they said they had roles for women and it made me so happy to see.

Use of sound and lighting was well thought out and complimented the piece nicely. I can tell this group have put a lot of thought and hard work into this and I can say it definitely paid off. The group as a whole were strong and each member had their shining moments, a very talented bunch!

The only thing I would have liked to have seen was programmes/flyers so I could follow you all on your socials! However, these guys did think of this with fourth-wall breaking lines and visual cues to induce further comedy and cleverly promote their company. You really should all be proud of yourselves, an original comedy piece that I shall remember for a long time.”

Number Please, will be performed by Paprichoo at The Local Theatre, Sheffield until Saturday 13 July (to book visit www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/number-please-tickets-57206570392), The Bread & Rose Theatre, London on 23 and 24 July (to book visit www.breadandrosestheatre.co.uk/) at the Paradise in Augustines venue at the Edinburgh Fringe from 3 to 10, 12 to 17 and 19 to 25 August (to book visit www.edfringe.com/whats-on/number-please). For further information on Paprichoo visit www.facebook.com/paprichoo.

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