The Summer House

Sport and fitness
4 out of 5 stars
5 out of 5 stars
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The Summer House
© Edmund Collier The Summer House

Stag parties are a blight on global travel, but their popularity has also revivified the bachelor party sub-genre, with films like 'The Hangover'. Here's another fine example: this ingenious comedy, produced by Fuel, about two doctors and a friend who jet off to an Icelandic summer house in midwinter for some man time.

Very loosely based on Goldilocks, it's devised by actors Will Adamsdale, Neil Haigh and Matthew Steer with director John Wright. Such is the actors' confidence in the material, their characters even bear the same names.

As well as sending up men's pathetically competitive behaviour, there are running jokes about Bob Dylan and what it takes to be a real man (you're not one unless you've stood on the roof of your house). But this is deliciously leftfield fare and more than just a conventional satire such as 'Men Behaving Badly'. There is also a surreal subplot involving Norse gods, Icelandic giants and three hungover Vikings waiting for their execution and onward journey to Valhalla. As for the gods, Thor gets his plastic cape in a twist thanks to a garden leafblower.

The real treat, though, is the ingenuity with which the tale is told. Group behaviour is particularly well observed, whether that's the staring faces you make inside a car, or the disco body twitches you get standing in the cold. Squeamishness about personal space is hilariously staged by the fact that much of the action takes place in a hot tub, with sound effects supplied by a handy pail of water.

Never mind the tricks though, this is a shaggy stag story rooted in three great characters. Will is the slyly competitive groom who goes through the motions of having a lager-fuelled crisis. But he's also a hospital surgeon keen to get one over on his anaesthetist and weary best man, Matt. Third man Neil is the Icelandic dark horse who freaks them out with local legends and tales of Awol polar bears. All three spend most of the show in turquoise bathing trunks: hats off to their real manliness for ensuring the only six packs on display come from the fridge.


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1 person listening

The thomas go to the summerhouse ever Friday love love MR Oscar Thomas 2016.