Some people fear that the Edinburgh Fringe is becoming filled with mainstream acts performing predictable routines in 500-seater auditoriums. To those people, I present Gigglemug Theatre’s Timpson: The Musical. A spectacular, unique piece of new writing, Timpson is unlike anything you will have ever seen before.
Set in the mid 19th century, Timpson tells the tale of two great houses of inventors: the Montashoes and Keypulets. The inevitable ensuing forbidden love story is where the Romeo & Juliet similarities end, as the audience is treated to an hour of intrigue, lilos and closeted fishermen. It is a truly mad adventure: a frenzied romance punctuated with enjoyable show tunes, eccentric choreography and surprising plot twists. To my knowledge, Timpson is the first musical to combine fishing and existential dread into one song. Arguably, long overdue.
Sam Cochrane & Chris Baker should be proud of their script, filled with absurdities, memorable lines and non-sequiturs. Everything in Timpson is perfectly crafted to elicit laughs. Tom Slade and Theo Caplan’s jaunty and catchy tunes are expertly performed by the talented live trio. The musical is well cast, with every actor clearly giving it their all and leaving the audience in fits of laughter. Chris Baker’s turn as a host of minor characters – including the eponymous William Timpson – is particularly memorable due to his sheer raw energy and innate comic timing. The backstage effort has also clearly been well thought through. Of particular note are the two ingenious set pieces that transform the stage from the interior of a shoe shop, to the streets of Victorian London. It is also a rare joy to see lighting being used to comic effect.
The infectious enthusiasm of the cast of Timpson: The Musical shines through in every scene. It makes the musical a toe-tapping delight to watch, regardless of your preexisting Timpson knowledge.