Pulse: Spy spoof sensation

There can be no better way to spend an evening than watching a troupe of consummate actors perform a truly ingenious and genuinely funny new play.

Lynne Mortimer

Spy, Brian Mitchell and Joseph Nixon, presented by The Ornate Johnsons, Pulse Festival, Wolsey Studio, Ipswich, Sunday June 8.

There can be no better way to spend an evening than watching a troupe of consummate actors perform a truly ingenious and genuinely funny new play.

This rehearsed reading lacked only props - most of them hypodermic needles. For this was a fabulously convoluted story about a Chingford-based British intelligence organisation and it required any number of paralysing, knock-out and truth inducing drugs to be administered in the course of action.


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At the interval I was wondering how I would avoid giving away the plot, by the end I couldn't have given away the plot if I'd tried.

Duncan Henderson is magnificent as Stroud, the hapless employee who has spent 15 years trying to avoid being noticed because he doesn't actually do any work.

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One day, he finds another woman has taken the place of his indisposed secretary - a woman who has a habit of kissing him.

Beth Fitzgerald is the mysterious temptress Miss Eve and Laura Corbett the missing stenographer, Miss Young.

Ross Gurney-Randall and David Mounfield are Stroud's manic colleagues Tackley and Shanks while Brian Mitchell, one of the writers, plays the role of scientist Aston.

Probably no one is who they appear to be and, just when the audience imagines it may have worked out what's going on, it is tossed another googly as one twist in the tale is succeeded by another and then another.

At the centre of it all is the code word… or possibly just the colour magenta (the Bond-theme type song is just brilliant)

Set in the early Sixties, this is a homage to and a bit of a defrocking for all those spy films and series that we have loved. It evoked The Man from Uncle; The Saint; James Bond; The Prisoner; plus a generous garnish of The Avengers.

There have been many imitators and spoofs of the spy story but none, I think, as clever and laughter-provoking as this one.

Just a final word about the Pulse Festival; each year it grows in stature and reputation and it is fantastic to see the splendid Wolsey Studio packed out time and again with audiences of from all age-groups. As the weather warms up, Pulse is the hot ticket.

Lynne Mortimer

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