Monday, April 22

Qrumpet – Camden People’s Theatre

Theatre can elicit many emotions in an audience – fear, sadness, joy, anger, to name but a few. Last night, I felt an emotion that I don’t think has ever been awoken in me through the arts – an absolute, raging frustration.

The show’s description is quirky and intriguing – basically, quantum tunnelling, but with a crumpet. What if you could throw a crumpet through a wall?

SPOILER ALERT. You cannot. And I know this, because last night I spent an hour watching crumpets being buttered and thrown at a wall. Not just crumpets, either; a shoe, a free newspaper, an unsuspecting Lindt bunny. None of the above can be thrown through a wall, and I’m sorry to say that I didn’t find the process of finding that out remotely entertaining.

The stage is set with the world’s worst Pelaton bike that looks like it might fall to pieces at any minute. I know fringe budgets are tight and the chaos of it all can sometimes add a touch of charm, but this was distracting to the point where I was almost uncomfortable. The cast are sporting enough casual denim to rival a GAP advert, and any enjoyment I initially gleaned from the routine playing out quickly dissipated as the monotony took over and I began to fixate on the terrible, terrible waste of delicious crumpets I was witnessing.

I’ve got a fairly high tolerance for off-beat theatre, but this was a step too far for me. If there was a higher purpose to the performance, it was lost on me, and I found any charm it might have had gave way to boredom very early on. There were pockets of laughter around the room – the guy behind me clearly found the performance hilarious – but for a show with only a 60-minute run time, it felt like one of the longest hours of my life.

I’m not saying don’t go, I’m just saying, know what you’re in for. A ticket may be less expensive than buying dozens of crumpets, so if you’re interested in seeing if one being thrown through a wall is a possibility, this could be an economical option, and the staff at the Camden People’s Theatre are always an absolute delight and it’s great to be able to support a local venue. Otherwise, I’m sorry but I’d give it a miss.

Reviewer: Zoë Meeres

Reviewed: 21st April 2021

North West End UK Rating: