Good Morning, Alamo!

  • Theatre
  • Fringe
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Richard Davenport
Zoë Teverson (Charlotte Vernon) and James Palmer (Captain Castaneda)

Playwright Mark Giesser's satirical take on the events leading to the infamous Battle of the Alamo in 1836 – a victory for Mexico but one that ultimately lost it the territory of Texas – lights up with moments of inspired lunacy.

The plight of posh English artist Charlotte Vernon (Zoe Teverson), mistress of a Mexican officer and painter of the suppression of the Texan rebels, adds a sober note. But Giesser wisely never lets this dominate the proceedings.

A series of utterly bonkers and deeply funny sketches bring home the absurdity of war in what is effectively 'Señor Strangelove'. Highlights include a manically cheerful radio broadcast amid the Alamo bloodshed and a brilliantly bizarre sequence involving an immigrant talking cow called Heidi.

Among a talented cast, Richard Emerson stands out for his comic timing. From his first appearance as commander of Steven Clarke's reluctant rebel, Harry, Emerson's parade of colourful characters (and one cow) is pitched perfectly.

The rapid-fire script makes few concessions if you don't know your history, and comes close to spinning apart amid the restless whirl of set-pieces. Also, for a play that revels in poking fun at reputations – step forward John Wayne's Davy Crockett – a stereotypically sleazy Mexican lieutenant is disappointing.

Nonetheless, Giesser's vision of a parched Texas packed with people from across the world fighting over territory and identity is vivid. 'Good Morning, Alamo!' isn't just about immigration – its wry dissection of the 'us' and 'them' debate strikes a universal chord.

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