Monkey Business: Frank Sumatra @TheatreN16

Frank Sumatra is a funny piece of monkey business playing at the N16 Theatre, now confusingly situated in Balham. 

The audience that finds its way to the theatre at the famous Bedford pub in Balham will be treated to an amusing piece of theatre presented as a live radio play. 

The piece focuses on Bev and Keith. They're a nice, do-gooding young couple trying for a baby. They only eat organic, they separate their recyclables and so on. They also briefly adopted an orangutan in a Sumatran sanctuary.

But despite letting the direct debit on the sponsorship lapse after a few months, the orangutan shows up on their doorstep one day and then starts wrecking havoc on their lives as he first eats them out of their organic food, and then starts behaving like a moody teenager. 
Part of the fun of the piece is to throw this couple out of their comfort zone. Pip Chamberlin and Hannah Walker are a delight sparring over expensive crockery and missing electric knives that don't leave crumbs. 

The format of the radio play means we don't get to see a orangutang onstage but you feel like one is there with the array of amusing sound effects, funny looks and antics that Dean Logan makes. 

Frank Sumatra is written by Newcastle playwright Mike Yeaman and directed by Neil Armstrong. It is presented here as part of the Wandsworth Fringe Festival

While I enjoyed the diversion, you coudln't help but wonder if this was broadcast in the comfort of your home you could have sat around and listened to it in your pyjamas with nice cup of tea (organic-fair-trade of course).

Given the difficulty in finding an audience these days, perhaps they should try and attempt to live stream the piece. That might encourage more people to head down to Balham (or the locals to seek out what's in their neighbourhood).

Frank Sumatra is only on for a few more days (until May 18). Catch it if you can.

Photo: production image by Mike Yeaman

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