Vampire Hospital Waiting Room is the hands-down winner of this year’s award for the daftest and funniest musical production. It features zany, side-splitting, performances and catchier songs than the West End has managed for decades.
Following successful 2013 and 2015 Edinburgh Fringe runs, it opened this week Above the Arts Theatre – a venue so hot that even the undead would be mopping a brow.
Deep in the heart of the NHS (apparently a well-known front for vampires taking full advantage of blood banks and patients undergoing surgery) the hour-long show’s plot begins with a vampire-obsessed Dr Bloom (Joe McArdle) longing for the appearance of a dark master who’ll make him immortal.
Bloom is convinced that handsome and wealthy Arty Methven is the one when he shows up, in the reception area, comatose after a car crash which occurred while showing his mistress Liz (Imogen Brabent) “something romantic in his pocket” .
While he sets about attempting to wake him an extremely posh, polite and jovial priest (John Rushton, the spitting image of a young Stephen Fry, in a character epitomising all the best bits of classic British comedy) calmly stems a stab wound and a rowdy Scot (Martin MacLennan) strums a foul-mouthed ditty in the waiting room.
Sexy Nurse (Abby Jackson) perfectly delivers every line in exactly the wrong tone, while gold-digging wife (Roz Ford) is blatantly more interested in Arty’s fortune than his reawakening.
There are gloriously un-PC tunes like Putting The Fun Into Funeral, complete with tap-dancing around a coffin, and Love Is Like A Car Crash (“always someone else’s fault”), and lots of fun clues and suggestions indicating that one of the other ridiculous cast members might actually be the Vampire Lord – but who?
The laughs never die. It’s wholly unpolished for a production that’s been around a while, and even funnier for it. Everyone seems rather rushed (fine by me – the show didn’t start until gone 10pm once the American Idiot crowd had cleared the big theatre downstairs) but it only adds to the somewhat delirious atmosphere.
Vampire Hospital Waiting Room effortlessly captures the silliness of the best improv nights, gross-out humour (Dr Bloom’s smelly Monopoly glove..) and combines it with stunningly sharp wit, to create the most gloriously zany, surreal and madcap show.
Best save up to buy a ticket for Elf or Cats if you’re expecting perfect voices and heavily choreographed dance moves, or if you are easily offended by national and gender stereotypes, the idea of a semi-vegetative man in a wheelchair making funny faces, paedophile-priest jokes or the very idea of putting “the rave into grave”.
Vampire Hospital Waiting Room running at Above the Arts Theatre, London until November 21.
Vampire Hospital Waiting Room
Vampire Hospital Waiting Room effortlessly captures the silliness of the best improv nights and gross-out humour, combining it with stunningly sharp wit.