Yeti Strikes Back [by James Wenley]
When we last saw Yeti, she had been shot by a jealous Yvette Parsons after the Himalayan visitor had started an affair with Yvette’s husband, Thomas Sainsbury….
That would seem to have been the end of our beloved Yeti. That is, until the sequel. Turns out Yeti isn’t dead, but has been in a coma for months, watched on by a distraught Tom.
For the last few years round comedy festival time I’ve looked forward to the off-the-wall comedies of Natalie Medlock and Dan Musgrove (A Song for the Ugly Kids, The Giant Face). Last year’s Dan is Dead / I Am a Yeti, which told the story of aspiring filmmaker Yeti moving in with Tom and Yvette was the team’s funniest.
As I wrote in last year’s review:
This show had the best ratio of belly laughs to length that I can recall. Safe in the fluffy white Yeti suit (which still manages to show off Natalie’s shapely legs), Natalie can get away with ANYTHING. All three performers in fact are refreshingly without shame, and the show contains some rather entertaining gross-out humour and unfortunate seductions -- the show likes to push, and revels in the gasps of audience reaction.
There really isn’t any other performer like Natalie Medlock. She is a wholly unique talent: charming, gorgeous, master of the silly voice, and willing to subject herself to all kinds of indignities. And did I mention she is beyond funny? Her Yeti creation is her best yet (topping even her headless character from A Song for the Ugly Kids), with an inherently funny accent, fantastic quirky mannerisms… and a dangerous need to connect to people.
This sequel revolves around a new love triangle – Yeti, Tom and a leprechaun called Sean. After missing out in performing in I am a Yeti due to getting caught up in international drug smuggling operation, Dan Musgrove brings his welcome comic chops and charm to the proceedings . As well as playing Sean, a leprechaun who owns a struggling Crocs shop, he plays incompetent male nurse Dennis, as well as using his trademark squeaky voiced Monty Python woman role, this time as Thomas Sainsbury’s mother.
Sainsbury’s mincing and loathsome character really comes into his own in this show, with more of the show’s plot revolving around him. His lapses into ‘displays of emotion’ at Yeti’s bedside are instantly apologised for, he frets ridiculously about which lover to choose, and poses a lot. His physical timing is perfect, especially in a ‘time going by’ sequence. His performance is constantly on the verge of cracking, which adds to the general mania.
Yeti, thankfully, makes a recovery (after a spell of rehabilitation), and Natalie gets to have wicked fun once again as her creation.
There’s something really delicious about watching Dan and Nat, after achieving ‘fame’ over the last year, doing ridiculous character comedy at the Basement. So too for Thomas Sainsbury, whose co-written Super City show reportedly has US interest. In the audience, it feels like this is what they really love doing and it’s great to share it with them.
The show suffers to an extent from sequel-itis. It inevitably lacks the surprise and novelty of our first meeting the Yeti character, nor does it top the original’s gross out humour or wonderfully sublime diversions. It’s more squarely a relationship comedy, letting the assured character work do the comic heavy lifting. It’s the Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest of sequels, light on plot, but succeeding through the set pieces and sheer personality of the leads.
The show keeps open the possibility of a third show too, which I for one am pleased about – I can’t get enough of Yeti!
Yeti is Dead / I am Tom plays at The Basement Theatre until Sat 5 May. More details see Comedy Festival.
Don’t miss the Youtube trailer, Yeti in a coma!