Review: Drop the Dead Donkey - Satirical, cynical and funny.

After nearly thirty years, the 90s award-winning cult sitcom "Drop the Dead Donkey" has made a comeback, this time, returning to the stage, and this week playing at The Milton Keynes Theatre.
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The show was originally set in the studios of GlobeLink News, combining newsroom parody, with sharp satire aimed at politicians and the news industry. The show which was recorded close to transmission was hugely popular among its viewers as it used current news events to enhance its realism. The original creators, Andy Hamilton and Guy Jenkins are now behind the new stage production, starring most of the original cast, attempting to recapture the sly and cynical magic of the classic series.

Gus, (Robert Duncan) the former boss of GlobeLink, heads up a brand-new news channel called Truth News and decides to hire his former colleagues to help him run the new station. The old team members including editor George (Jeff Rawle), deputy editor Dave (Neil Pearson), reporter now newsreader Damien (Stephen Tompkinson), newsreader Sally (Victoria Wicks), assistant editor Helen (Ingrid Lacey), and HR specialist Joy (Susannah Doyle) are reunited. They are also joined by intern "weathergirl" Rita (Kerena Jagpal) and investigative journalist Mairead (Julia Hills). Together, they work to launch Truth News and produce its first broadcasts.

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I never watched the series myself, but I could see from the audience reaction this was a welcome trip down memory lane for those who had. Indeed, as each character arrived on stage they were met with warm applause.

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Set in a swish tv studio, the satirical nature of the show was bang up-to-date and came at everyone’s expense. ‘That picture’ and its “minor adjustments” the Post office scandal, Prince Andrew, Rishi Sunak, and even our dearest and most National Treasure Sir David Attenborough. – how dare they! However, owevHonothingnothing could be deemed as offensive and was quite a breath of fresh air.

For me, this didn’t quite cut the mustard. It didn’t come over as a play but rather a long-drawn TV episode, which I suppose didn’t really matter, and despite the actors being microphoned, the diction wasn’t always clear, and I lost a lot of what was said which was frustrating. I also found the script rather disappointing, and it lacked the ‘razor-sharp’ cynicism I’d expected.

However, it was funny and it’s fantastic to see such a cast of such loved actors on point with deadpan delivery and splendid comic timing,

It was not the best thing I have ever seen but not the worst either and worth a viewing.

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