Farcical fast-paced fun – but just ran out of legs

Octopus Soup Belgrade Theatre
Nick Hancock and Paul Bradley in Octopus Soup

WITH an octopus as the unlikely central character, the latest Belgrade production should certainly have legs when it comes to playing for laughs.

Octopus Soup is a farce that centres around Seymour Norse (Nick Hancock), a washed-up insurance man attempting to turn his failing career around by pitching his ‘big idea.’

Octopus Soup Belgrade Theatre Nick Hancock
Nick Hancock as Seymour in Octopus Soup

He has been waiting a long time for this make-or-break opportunity ­ a two-way Skype call to Virginia Whale (Gillian Bevan) global CEO of GIT insurance agency, to seal a huge deal. But what looks set to be a dull and deeply uninspiring Powerpoint presentation is rudely interrupted by an unwanted guest.

Cue Marvin, the bungling burglar (played brilliantly by Paul Bradley, formerly of Eastenders and Holby City fame) who, with his pet octopus in tow – brings Seymour’s plans crashing down and his career hopes with them.

But then the peculiar pairing unwittingly drum up an illegal plan to make millions with a fictitious alogorythm that predicts crime trends in the area. Seymour is initially a less than willing party but his protestations are swept up in the farce which ensues.

And none of it is helped by Seymour’s diva wife Gloria (Carolyn Backhouse) whose misreading of the situation and frenzied personality helps send the situation spiralling out of control.

Octopus Soup Belgrade Theatre
The cast of Octopus Soup

There is a lot to love about Octopus Soup, including Marvin’s witty one-liners and Malapropisms and Gloria’s chaotic character – especially her melodrama meltdowns.

And its frenetic pace is well maintained by the small cast.

Whilst not the slickest and laugh-out-loud funniest farce I’ve seen, it is certainly worthy of your evening. I smiled more than I laughed – but I did smile a lot.

Octopus Soup Belgrade Theatre
Carolyn Backhouse as Gloria and Gillian Bevan as Virginia in Octopus Soup

The Belgrade production marks a world debut for the show which, after some more polish and perfecting, will, I’m sure only continue to gather momentum – and fans. Let’s hope the extra eight legs will help Octopus Soup run and run.

You can catch Octopus Soup at the Belgrade until Saturday, February 16th. Tickets are available from the box office at: boxoffice@belgrade.co.uk

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