Tuesday, 3 July 2007

Theatre Review - Snickerthon

When he revealed his ideas for a new musical to them, Dwayne Borsnapp’s friends told him he was mad.

‘They said, “You’re mad!” and then started hitting me on the knees with shatterproof rulers,’ quoths the gung-ho theatre producer, adding, ‘and then some of the rulers shattered, which shows you how hard they were hitting me.’

Well, it’s fair to say that Borsnapp’s friends are probably laughing on the other side of their measuring instruments now, because Snickerthon, his new musical, is about to become the toast of the West End (in London!)!

Snickerthon relates the story – familiar to all people in Britain who were there at the time – of how the popular chocolate, nougat and peanut bar called ‘Marathon’ was rebranded and called ‘Snickers’, and the very devastating fallout that this was to cause.

Getting the project off the ground was not easy. Says Borsnapp: ‘Potential investors were slightly dubious about the money-making potential of a three-hour musical extravaganza chronicling a chocolate bar’s name change. But I showed them. Oh yes, I showed them.’

At this point in the interview Borsnapp started rubbing his hands and staring into space, and no amount of prodding or nose-hair singeing could stir him. I decided to leave him and sit in on the final rehearsals.

Beginning with Britain in a golden age of chocolate bar heaven, where Starburst were still called ‘Opal Fruits’ and where Secrets and Pyramints still existed, the musical moves on through the initial decision-making process to the promotional material and finally to the world as it is today. As the events move on, things on the homesphere get worse and worse, until we arrive at the apocalyptic shitheap of today’s Planet Earth. International terrorism, bird flu, global warming, Mel Gibson….could all the wrongs that exist be due to ‘Marathon’ becoming ‘Snickers’? The play never really answers the question, but it puts the question in your head and that’s almost the same, isn’t it?

Musical highlights include the song It’s Political Correctness Gone Mad and What the Fuck is ‘Oil of Olay’? which cover the plethora of changes to products’ names that have occurred since, and Weren’t Frazzles Great Too?, a paean to the nostalgic snacks movement of comedians like Peter Kaye.

Snickerthon is a wonderful afternoon’s entertainment for anyone who enjoys chocolate, or, perhaps more appropriately, for people who used to like chocolate a lot more than they do now. Superb.

Snickerthon is running for the next two weeks at the Odium, Central Place, London. Tickets are outrageous.

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