Too Much Punch For Judy at Upstairs at the Gatehouse review: “Fresh, entertaining and highly relevant”

PUBLISHED: 17:42 22 August 2017 | UPDATED: 11:08 23 August 2017

Jo (Alana Ramsey) and Judy (Alice Imelda) in Too Much Punch for Judy

Jo (Alana Ramsey) and Judy (Alice Imelda) in Too Much Punch for Judy

Archant

Anyone wishing for a roller coaster emotional ride at the Camden Fringe need go no further than the true life tale of a teenager who killed her sister in an alcohol-related drink/driving accident.

Pc Caten (Edward Mitchell) and PC Abrahams (Chloe Orrock) in Too Much Punch for JudyPc Caten (Edward Mitchell) and PC Abrahams (Chloe Orrock) in Too Much Punch for Judy

Too Much Punch For Judy is a powerful verbatim play from Mark Wheeller which centres on the relationship between sisters Jo and Judy and the tragic consequences of a night out.

The drama, from JR Theatre Company, kicks off with high energy laughs from the two sisters, their mum Vi, their friends, establishing their close bond and the girls’ love of booze.

Dancing at their favourite wine bar two men with cheesy chat up lines try to win them over and offer to buy them a drink. “Make mine a white wine,” shouts Judy over the music, “Make that a bottle,” adds her sister. “Each!” they chorus.

Then the car crash, in slow motion, death reigning down on Jo in the passenger seat as the Carpenter’s We’ve Only Just Begun blares from the radio.

In truth the car is just a box; the set is very sparse, a photograph of the vehicle projected on a screen bringing home the horror.

All the performances are superb from Alice Imelda’s gobby Judy and Alana Ramsey’s happy-go-lucky Jo to Richard Blackman’s sober retelling as first witness (as well as louche Lothario Nob in the wine bar).

Vi, played by Hilary Burns, is heartbreaking and so too Edward Mitchell’s grief-stricken PC Chris Caten, the family friend, who is forced to break the news of Jo’s death to her mother, then to Judy.

The play, with all the words taken from interviews of those involved at the time, is now in its 30th year.

Even with a pulsating 80’s soundtrack it is fresh, entertaining and as highly relevant today as it was when first aired in 1987.

Verbatim dramas often pack a punch with their intensity and this one doesn’t disappoint. Prepare to be knocked out.

£12 (£10 conc)

Upstairs at the Gatehouse, Highgate Village, 21-27 August.

Latest Hampstead & Highgate Stories

Yesterday, 22:31

Former Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere has been discussing various topics with Layth Yousif during his exclusive interview this week. The talented 26-year-old invited Layth to his house for an in-depth discussion on a wide-ranging number of issues as the star prepares to launch his first soccer school at the end of this month. Read on for more...

Yesterday, 17:00

Tottenham Hotspur will be without Jan Vertonghen, Danny Rose and Dele Alli for the fixture at the London Stadium

Yesterday, 19:01

This year’s Remembrance Day will see a remarkable multi-faith ceremony bring together the Highgate community to remember the horrors of the First World War on the centenary of its conclusion.

Yesterday, 17:23

Indie favourites take their Good Humor LP out the garage and into the British Library for a live outing on its 20th anniversary

Yesterday, 16:43

Christmas came early for activists in West Hampstead last night after Camden Council refused to grant christmas tree sellers Pines and Needles a licence to trade from Fortune Green.

Yesterday, 16:00

Greens won 3-2 at Hartley Wintney last Saturday, but lost at Metropolitan Police in CSS League Challenge Cup in midweek

Yesterday, 15:00

The former Maidenhead United forward has scored five goals in four FA Cup games this season

Most read Hampstead & Highgate etcetera

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now