90 minutes of farcical mayhem

Although the reviews haven’t been great for The Painkiller at the Garrick Theatre, I had the best cultural laugh I’ve had in ages.
Starring Kenneth Brannagh and Rob Brydon I must admit that I wasn’t completely convinced when my friend suggested we went. I find Rob Brydon annoying at the best of times – and Kenneth Brannagh is just a bit of a lovey smugster… However I was wrong.
Yes Rob Brydon was really annoying in the play – however he was meant to be and he played the part brilliantly. Right down to his very brief briefs (a brave brave move for any man, let alone one in his 50s).
And Kenneth Brannagh left his loveyness at the door and really let his hair down. At times he didn’t quite get the part right, confusing his role as part super-slick Russian gangster with his overly camp role of mistaken identity as a drugged cuckold.
There is no interval in the play – which all though we queried when we sat down at the beginning – this was essential to keep the momentum going and the laughter flowing. All in all I would say it was a triumph – I certainly haven’t laughed at a play that much in eons.

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