In space, no-one can hear you bicker! Review of Pilgrim Shadow by ManMoth Productions at the Tristan Bates Theatre

By Carmel Shortall

Like episodes of a sitcom, Pilgrim Shadow takes up the story of hapless space clowns, Tyler and Gary, about six months after we left them trying to murder each other at the end of Dead Static (which, incidentally, can be downloaded from manmoth.co.uk for a limited period). But you don’t need to have seen Dead Static at last year’s Fringe to enjoy Pilgrim Shadow – the themes and characters are perennial. Two co-dependent fuckwits are trapped together and have to co-operate if they are to survive – one isn’t too smart but likes to think he is and the other is very stupid indeed. Tyler may be the brains of the outfit but with Gary around – let’s face it – it’s not difficult.

For six months they have managed to hide out on the moon of Proteus and evade the clutches of the evil Syndicate who are still hunting them. That is, until Gary leads them right to the door when he nicks the space ship he was hoping to win in a Cluedo Tournament. Gary believes the ship is The Pilgrim which belonged to legendary space pirate, Tim Shadow. But then he also believes in the tooth fairy and he did believe in Santa – until he was murdered!

Pilgrim ShadowWith the Syndicate hot on their heels they set off in the Pilgrim to find that the legend of Shadow’s treasure might not be so far-fetched after all but how are they ever going to learn to share and, in the end, is the Syndicate really their worst enemy?

Writer and Director, Steve Jordan imagines a future so bleak that S Club 7 pencil cases are given out as top prizes and his script is peppered with similar 20th and 21st-century pop culture references. Cliff Chapman as Tyler and Adam Joselyn as Gary really embrace their roles – Tyler is all exaggerated patience and tragicomic dignity like Harold Steptoe in space and Gary bounces up and down with excitement like an ADHD rabbit.

Set design is minimal – two chairs, assorted space clutter, throaty voice-recordings and clever lighting are all that are needed to convince us that Tyler and Gary are indeed doing warp speed in a rusting space bucket, pursued by the growling threats of the Syndicate.

Here’s hoping there are more episodes coming our way – with some trimming, refining and a few more characters, these mini-sitcoms could be as good as anything on BBC3!

Pilgrim Shadow is terrific fun and runs at the Tristan Bates Theatre till Saturday 3 August at 7:30pm. Tickets are £10 and concessions are £9.

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