It’s a riot of comedy fun - Holy Mackerel at the Key Theatre

Holy Mackerel. Photo: Mike Kwasniak

Holy Mackerel. Photo: Mike Kwasniak

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Seeing is believing when it comes to understanding how you can pack so much silliness into two hours.

But, it is what has become expected of the annual winter offering from Eastern Angles, in this case the very funny Holy Mackerel which opened in the Key Theatre Studio on Tuesday.

It tells the tale of East Anglian fishermen who descended on Cornwall in the 1890s and, to the absolute horror of the godfearing Wesleyan-loving folk of Newlyn, went to sea on a Sunday, with the excellent Louise Callaghan (Mags) doing much of the story-telling.

It is wonderfully, very cleverly written by Harry Long, who is superb as nice but dim Norman, the hero of the piece, who is about as simple as the sets and props.

It is testament to his script, the direction of Tim Bell and the skills of the assembled cast that they can cross the floor (there is no stage, the audience sit either side of the action, which works brilliantly) don a hat, coat or apron and have us believe they are a completely different characters.

Take the eye-catching Mabel Clements - one minute almost frothing at the mouth as the raging Newlyn resident Alice, the next the butter-wouldn’t-melt sweet as can be Kerra (Norman’s love interest), or Daniel Copeland -a rather dubious vicar “holiest man in Newlyn”, and a harbourmaster with post traumatic stress disorder brought on by the yet to happen Titanic disaster!

The songs are witty, the jokes come thick and fast - some subtle, some obvious with a little double-entendre thrown in for good measure.

There is slapstick, farce, more than a hint of panto (Brassy - the excellent Christian Edwards is a great panto-esque villain), and more than a nod to Ealing-type comedies.

It’s a riot... see it until Saturday.