Spymonkey & Grizzly Tales

Twenty years ago I worked with a group of comedians who would meticulously plan their double-bubble breakfasts in the greasy spoon on Coldharbour Lane, but would leave the detail of what was going into their show that night to chance. They were Lee Cornes, Paul Mark Elliott, Mark Arden and Steve Frost, otherwise known as The Wow Show. I tried for years to get them their own show on TV and never quite managed it. We did shoot a pilot in Milton Keynes with Mandie Fletcher and a budget of £200 in which we had to recreate the spirit of Shackleton’s Arctic Wastes with some white floor paint. They were the greatest theatrical comedy act never to be seen on TV. Anyone else remember the first time you saw Paul Mark Elliott coming up on stage as a punter from the audience (having not been in the first 20 minutes of the show) and then being beaten up (apparently for real)  in front of our eyes. Brilliant.

Well now I have seen something that picks up The Wow Show’s mantle, dusts it down and lines it with red silk. Spymonkey have been around for a while but I only saw them for the first time last night. For a comedy troupe who are famous for their physical comedy and getting their kit off, they got their kit off more times than I was expecting. Their spitefulness, subversion and unrelenting childishness made for an evening of such joy that I still can’t get the image of The Good Samaritan and Mother Theresa fighting over the blind, starving cripple out of my head. Their names? Aitor Basauri (crap at English), Stephan Kreiss (anger issues), Petra Massey (so flexible) and Toby Park (weak eyes needs glasses). If you’ve got nothing better to do with two hours. Go and see them.

It may be nothing more than a conspiracy theory that Spymonkey might be teaming up with Jamie Rix to produce a theatre show of Grizzly Tales, I cannot say, but as for The Wow Show. Let’s start a petition to bring them back…

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