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Enid Blyton for grown-ups: groan-making one-liners, innuendos and naughty double-entendres

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Bumper Blyton, at the Corn Exchange, on Thursday, April 28. Review by ROBIN STRAPP

Bumper Blyton is an improvised parody performed by The Make Em Ups theatre company in the style of Enid Blyton’s famous characters from her children’s novels. Think of the Famous Five or The Secret Seven or Mallory Towers and you’ll get the picture.

As the audience entered the auditorium, they were encouraged to collect a chalkboard and draw on it, illustrating their favourite hobby or animal.

Bumper Blyton
Bumper Blyton

These suggestions would become the subject of a new adventure for the cast to perform.

The competition was intense, but in the end two were chosen at random and the participants were rewarded with... what else but a chocolate teacake.

I was waiting for the “lashings of ginger beer!”.

Bumper Blyton, picture Damian Robertson
Bumper Blyton, picture Damian Robertson

Each performance is unique, “for one night only” and so we had a guinea pig, collecting frog spawn and the location of Dudley.

So our story was The Curious Incident of the Missing Animals of Dudley Zoo.

This was surely going to be a challenge, but the versatile cast are connoisseurs of the art of improvisation and hilariously created the most bizarre scenes.

Bumper Blyton, picture Damian Robertson
Bumper Blyton, picture Damian Robertson

Their rapport with each other was impressive, picking up each other’s clues and playfully exploring the themes until a bell went to change the scene.

They sang with confidence, including some lovely harmonies and were accompanied by an on-stage pianist, who definitely helped to create the atmosphere.

It’s all tremendous fun, with groan-making one-liners and so many innuendos and naughty double-entendres, which were hilarious.

Their Dudley accents were riotous.

Our ripping yarn had the cast rolling around the stage as animals.

The actor playing the guinea pig was incredible.

There were loads of local references in the incredulous, imaginative plot.

But how on earth did they come up with “growing new animals from mushrooms” or taking tourists and “covering them in leaves and putting them in cages to replace the escaped zoo animals”?

And what really happened in the pet shop trading in exotic animal fur?

It was all great buffoonery, played by a highly-professional cast and the audience loved it.

A really entertaining production.

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