King's Theatre Edinburgh (venue)
05 November 2018 (released)
07 November 2018
It’s the battle of the egos vs. volcanic activity in this new comedy by Nigel Planer and Adrian ‘Ade’ Edmondson – spiked with acerbic wit and some serious soul-searching. Planer and Edmondson star as two former RADA students who, now in their sixties, meet again on the set of a Sci-fi fantasy movie filmed in an Icelandic wasteland.
Hugh Delavois (N. Planer) is once again reprising his role of Vulcan’s butler Benton in the new Sci-fi film VULCAN 7 (obviously this is part 7 of the franchise) and although it’s not exactly a brilliant part it provides him with regular work.
Young runner/assistant Leela Vitoli (Lois Chimimba) enters the trailer and informs him there might be a slight delay with regards to shooting the next scene as local weather conditions begin to worsen – what’s more, the action happens to be shot on Gigjökull – a glacier on a mountain which can be reached only via shuttle or snowcat. Not only is it icy cold (obviously!) but extremely treacherous too, what with crevices, steam vents and what have you. But the delay in filming isn’t Hugh’s only reason for being slightly disgruntled: his former acting buddy Gary Savage (A. Edmondson), whom he knows since the good ole RADA days, has fallen on hard times after having had a spell of success as a Hollywood A-lister. Now Gary has to make do with playing guest monster ‘Angry Thermidon’ – a role which requires him to sit in the make-up chair for more than four hours and with only one word of dialogue in his script. No wonder Gary is in even worse spirits than Hugh. Above all, Gary isn’t pleased to see his former ‘buddy’ residing in his very own cosy trailer while he is demoted to residing in a three-car-trailer. Clearly this is wrong, wrong, wrong and Gary has no qualms to enter Hugh’s trailer (in full Thermidon outfit no less) to vent his anger! Before no time the two thespians quarrel it out in front of the long-suffering Leela who tries her best to be diplomatic and keep the overall peace albeit to little avail: Hugh and Gary dissect the ups and downs of their careers, with Hugh insisting that he deserves to be the bigger ‘star’ while temperamental and booze-loving Gary, who’s also a serial womanizer, is responsible for his own undoing.
While all this petty bickering goes on inside the trailer the pair are informed by Leela – who jumps in and out to check on things – that the director’s gone ‘awol’, the catering truck is now on the wrong side of the ravine following a slide, and that volcanic activity is growing fiercer and fiercer by the minute.
While the outside temperatures keep plummeting the atmosphere inside the trailer is a fiery as it was when Gary first entered. Yes, the two men still bicker it out for all that’s worth it but slowly but surely priorities are shifting when more private aspects begin to creep into the poisonous conversation and both Gary and Hugh have to acknowledge that life hasn’t been entirely fair to them courtesy of their own deluded egos. Once again Leela is the bearer of bad news when she informs the two actors that no further filming will take place for the moment due to increasingly hazardous weather conditions and the other aforementioned factors… A bummer which leaves our two spitfires with enough time to ponder over the fact that 24-year old Leela – the student daughter of a casting director that both Hugh and Gary have had a fling with – could be the daughter of either of them. Parental surprises aside: will the three make it back safely to the base/Visitor Centre before the volcano erupts completely?
Spot-on observations about the human condition in general and the acting profession in particular make this riotous comedy a special treat to watch. Planer and Edmondson are at their anarchic best while Lois Chimimba is pure delight as a runner who tries her best to juggle job with the artistic temperaments of her two ‘protégés’… while at the same time attempting to communicate with the volcano via means of the ancient Sami language.
The set, simple as it seems (in effect we are talking a trailer) turns out to be a clever construction that moves and erupts with every volcanic tremor. Great fun!
VULCAN 7 runs until Sat 10th November (www.capitaltheatres.com)
Photo by Nobby Clark