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Vulcan 7 starring Adrian Edmondson and Nigel Planer review at Richmond Theatre

Lois Chimimba, Nigel Planer and Adrian Edmondson in Vulcan 7. Photo: Nobby Clark
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Former Young Ones Adrian Edmondson and Nigel Planer were at the cutting edge of the new wave of comedy in the 1980s. Today they are very much establishment figures and their new play Vulcan 7 plays to their strengths as performers.

They play two past-their-prime actors appearing on location in a low-budget, sci-fi movie franchise. Hugh Delavois (Planer) is a prissy character actor at the tail-end of a mediocre career, while Gary Savage (Edmondson) is a chaotic hell-raiser who hit the big time with a career in the movies but now struggles to find work.

The location shoot for Vulcan 7 finds them holed up in Iceland; following the initial fireworks of their reunion, the local volcano threatens to tip their trailer into the centre of the earth.

As comedies go, it’s amusing, if a little predictable, with Planer bringing elements of his Nicholas Craig persona to the character of Hugh and Edmondson doing an exemplary drunk act as Gary.

The pair’s bitching about famous actors provides some early laughs but Steve Marmion’s production only really hits its stride when the characters begin to unravel their past, a process aided by Lois Chimimba as Leela, the film’s put-upon runner and, in a twist worthy of an Ealing comedy, possibly the daughter of Hugh or Gary.

Technical issues may have stopped the Titanic-like tilt of the set as it slips into the abyss towards the end, but this barely fazes the cast. Planer and Edmondson take it in their stride. Vulcan 7 may not be the most sophisticated of comedies but their performances make it memorable.

Exclusive interview: The Young Ones’ Nigel Planer and Adrian Edmondson reunite on stage

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Middling comedy about two ageing actors enlivened considerably by the performances of its stars