Review by David Munro
THE Translucent Frogs is a transfer from the
Edinburgh Festival Fringe where it apparently won a prize as best
Not having attended the Festival this year, I cannot comment
on the opposition but if last night's effort was anything to go
by, it cannot have been very challenging.
This is an unpretentious hour and a half by a pianist and three
actors, two male and one female, which sets out to entertain through
song dance and speech.
It is not a revue as it has a wisp of a plot about a suburban
couple who take their honeymoon by canoe up the Amazon in search
of the eponymous frogs.
Save for that, it is very much in revue format, songs, sketches
and monologues, sideswipes at pretensions in academia or current
life, risqué double entendres, etc.
The evening is opened by Chris Larner (the author) who after
a monologue and song on memory loss, which I prefer to forget,
then sets the scene for the Amazon trip.
He is joined by Jonathan Robbins, as a suburban Bank clerk, and
Rosalie Craig, as his wife, and the story, if as such it can be
described, takes off from there.
Chris Larner acts as compere and commentator on the action which
gives him the opportunity for scene setting, songs and humorous
interpolated comments on the action.
Jonathan Robbins and Rosalie Craig sing and dance twenties pastiche
numbers (it is supposed to take place in 1922) and act out little
sketches, sending up academic pretensions and their inability
to consummate their marriage, the difficulty of communication
with other races, and the foibles of the English abroad with skill
and good humour.
Jonathan Robbins' attempt to explain
to an uncomprehending native that he wants to see a frog by acting
out the movements and jumps of the creature was especially memorable.
Surrealism takes over when the actors decide to step out of their
characters and have a Pirandello type row inter se which leads
into the winding up of the play and the evening.
Set out baldly like this, it all sounds rather dire, which is
It is undergraduate and naïve in many ways but, as the
audience last night proved, it does entertain and is, in its mild
Rosalie Craig was undoubtedly mainly responsible for this; her
impersonation of a gangly Essex Girl, who discovers sex in the
Jungle, was a delight.
She is a comedienne of the first water and I look forward to
seeing her again.
The pianist and composer, Mark Stevens, supplied tinkly pastiche
tunes and took part in the action when required, passing acerbic
comments on the idiocy occurring all round him in a wonderfully
I don’t see this show setting the theatrical Thames on
fire, but if you want a pleasant after-dinner entertainment then
this is for you.
The Translucent Frogs Of Quuup!!. Written and directed
by Chris Larner; Music by Mark Stevens; Costumes, Steven Gregory
& Denise Silvey; Lighting, TO Robertson.
CAST: Chris Larner; Mark Stevens; Jonathan Robbins; Rosalie Craig.
The New Ambassadors Theatre West Street , London, WC2.
September 9, 11, 13, 15, and 17, 2004, only
Box Office: 0870 080 6627.