Review: Very Blue Peter

A kids' TV spinoff that leaves a bitter aftertaste

★★
theatre review (edinburgh) | Read in About 2 minutes
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Very Blue Peter courtesy of Jackson Bews (3)
Published 14 Aug 2018

Remember those uncertain days approaching the new millennium and it felt like the world was about to fall apart? Well, strap yourself in, we’re heading back in time to 1998. Relive that feeling of impending doom along with three disgruntled, wannabe children’s TV presenters who break into the BBC studios. They're going to make their own version of a much-loved television show, and the audience is going to help them stick it to the institution that has left them out in the cold.

If there’s one word to sum up this show, it’s chaos. Though the plot generally follows the format of Blue Peter, it takes the ‘everything goes wrong’ approach so every sketch inevitably collapses. This could be quite funny, like a version of The Play That Goes Wrong, but the humour used is nasty and vengeful rather than slapstick. It comes across as a series of mean spirited attacks rather than any sort of positive reclamation. The late start time ensures the audience is likely to have already had several drinks, so the insults and bodily function gags go down well.

It's much less amusing without the influence of alcohol, however. Though the story hinges on dysfunction, there's so much that it quickly becomes overwhelming, and the performers don't always have control of the mayhem. Overly eager audience members can easily hijack the interactive elements and join in with the bullying that some of the characters encounter. It leaves a bitter aftertaste despite some moments that are genuinely funny.