The long postponed 2021 retirement party, finally, upon us. Easily one of the best shows I’ve been to, period.
Ron McKinley's Retirement Party
6th AUG 2022
Emma Brittenden and Aaron Jelley
Stars (of 3)
Honestly, up front, at the start I thought this show would be shit. 😶
Which is crazy considering the GODS of theatre and comedy I admire who created and starred in it. Somehow that slipped past me during the moment, and the idea of the “audience interacting” to create a “retirement party” for the mysterious Ron, our co-worker on an empty stage, felt ridiculous.
It mixed the formula of the “Gary Starlight” show with a magic trick and improv story telling game, setting up who Ron is, his family, interests and friends are early on.
I don’t remember all the details, but there were wigs, costumes, decorations, an improvised band from audience members (some could even play the instruments), cooking on stage and technical VHS player repairs 📼🚧 (I set the time on a VHS player during the show as a present for Ron, while wearing a fuzzy wig).
It felt genuine when asked by Emma, “What do we need for Ron’s party?” and someone says “decorations” and Emma produces a box of streamers, balloons and a ladder, and some audience members start attaching them to the stage while more suggestions and props are suggested, provided and people get busy with them.
Even an estranged father+son broken relationship was discovered and opportunity for a reunion created, which did happen at the end and more I can’t even remember.
Most of the suggestions from the audience, had been thought about and catered for in advance and actions or props and roles were available in some shape or form back-stage to accommodate.
Then at the end Ron himself turns up (played by the amazing Emma Cudsin), perfectly embodying all the characteristics, relationships, knowledge and mannerisms setup earlier in the show and written on post-it notes on a whiteboard on the stage.
The formula worked very well, I hope they do a similar show soon!
It was easily one of the best shows I’ve been to, period.
A rare 3/3 stars.