Review: The Net Kill, VAULT Festival

That it introduces the word ‘flimflaffle’ into the lexicon is all you need to know about how ridiculous and fun Incognito Theatre’s The Net Kill is at VAULT Festival

“It’s not going to get weird, is it?”

Who knew the world of badminton could be so filled of derring do? Somewhere near the end of the nineteenth century, five jolly chaps are set about trying to win the London and South East Amateur League and also deal with the frightful news that their favourite pub is about to close down when they’re asked to put their shuttlecocks down and engage in a secret mission for Queen Vic, to kill the mysterious beast that is stalking the forests of Gloucestershire.

Such is the world of The Net Kill, brought to hilarious life by the tight-knit ensemble of Incognito Theatre Company, and directed with real panache by Catherine Cranfield. It is completely, utterly, silly – recognising that mispronouncing words in a posh voice is endlessly funny, for example – but witty with it too, as wildly exaggerated character tropes take us into full-on lycanthropy, a spot of alchemy, even Camelot and the Round Table itself.

Angus Castle-Doughty (Ginger), Charlie MacVicar (Baby), George John (Sporty), Alex Maxwell (Scary) and Daniel Whitlam (Posh) are great fun to a man, all bringing a real physical grace to a number of well-choreographed sequences sprinkled throughout. And whilst the air of Boy’s Own lampooning is ever-present, there’s something more profound here too, particularly in how it looks at the volatility of group dynamics and the potential held within male friendship.

Cranfield’s production balances these elements carefully and skilfully. The ensemble work is as taut as racket strings, the humour is delivered with an earnestly straight bat (wrong sport, I know), wide-ranging musical cues add unexpected texture, and a late twist reveals this to be the story that The King’s Man could only hope to be. Enthusiastically entertaining from start to finish.

Running time: 60 minutes (without interval)
The Net Kill is booking at VAULT Festival until 12th March

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