Doktor James’s Bad Skemes

Reviewed by Luke Billingham
The Giggle Goose & Sweet Venues
At Vault Festival until 18th February 2018
For ages 6-11

Doktor James (James Bennison) is an evil mastermind. A villain so dastardly and so terrifyingly menacing that he makes Dracula look like Daffy Duck. His genius knows no bounds, and his mercilessness makes even the bravest of men and women quake in fear. Aided by his trusty right-hand-man Timeon (Timothy Goose), our world is helpless in the face of his gargantuan power. He thinks. Look on his spiky shoulder pads, ye mighty, and despair!

It seems there are only two barriers standing in the way of Doktor James achieving world domination: the superhero JamesMan – who happens to be Doktor James’ identical twin – and the rival supervillain Doktor Jane. To achieve his malevolent mission he must defeat them both.

The only issue is that when he consults the official league table of supervillains, he’s residing at 10 billionth. He’s got to climb 99,999,999 places to reach the top of the leader board, above Doktor Jane, and then take on JamesMan. To do so, he needs some skemes. Some bad’uns.

Thus, 50 minutes of tip-top tomfoolery ensues. The audience are asked for evil ideas, made to dress up evil using some bin-bags, and cajoled into forming an evil rock band. Doktor James and Timeon stumble through some low-tech gags and painful puns. It’s like watching your two favourite uncles mucking about for the family, performing a show they’d written the night before, after a whisky or seven. They’ve got less polish than a fashionably worn-down table in a hipster café.

If you’re a fan of performers knowing their lines and not getting too sweaty under the lights, you’ll have a terrible time, but if you like watching two beardy men playing silly buggers, you’ll have a delightful time. I know which category I’m in – I love a good beard.

Children’s Theatre Reviews exists to help plug the gap in criticism and writing about theatre for young audiences. It is run entirely voluntarily, and needs support to continue covering and supporting the sector. For more information and to help give children’s theatre the voice it deserves, please visit our Patreon page.

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