Bond The Zoo at The Pleasance

The name’s Robertson…Gavin Robertson and this versatile and energetic performer slips on the mantle of Britain’s finest spy, as he embarks on his latest mission with a licence to make you laugh along the way.

Yet when I was first investigating the prospect of going to see “Bond” I wasn’t exactly sure what was going to be presented to the audience. I had the half-expected notion that it would turn out to be a rather lamely written effort, with a rather desperate actor prowling the stage with a water pistol, and then offering up some very dodgy impersonations of Sean Connery & Roger Moore! Although during the course of the plot, the raw distinctive vocal tones of the esteemed Sir Sean does eventually make a brief cameo appearance, this production is a most original and highly enjoyable fringe experience that leaves you “shaken & stirred”(oops!) with entertaining amusement.

I must admit that this is the first time I have ever encountered the talented Mr Robertson and his “theatre of the imagination”, but I departed the show greatly impressed. On a dark, bare, spartan stage, save only for 3 adaptable steel frames (replacing the more elaborate Ken Adam sets that one is more familiar with) our hero transports the audience to a world of fast cars, dangerous villains, glamorous women, exotic locations and outlandish gadgets. The only thing is – you don’t see them – you only hear them, as well as imagine them in your own mind. This comes about due to Gavin Robertson’s well-practiced stagecraft and vivid imagination in making the unseen, seen.

Our leading man (or should that be men – as well as women, for the actor is nothing if not versatile) then takes to the stage and presents his audience with his one-man interpretation of the spectacular fantasy world of 007. Part parody, part spoof, part mime, part send up, he moves around the stage, altering his “props” accordingly, as Bond sets out on his mission to track down the evil genius who is planning to obliterate the Oscar ceremony in Los Angeles (yes it’s that kind of a zany plot!) Along the way he picks up a sexy young accomplice (well, he wouldn’t be Bond if he didn’t) called “Honeydew Melons”, a gloriously over-the-top name that even Ian Fleming would have been be proud of.

In fact the hero’s author, the same Ian Fleming, plays an integral part in the proceedings, as he comes to detest the universal fame that has attached itself to his creation, and so he formulates a dastardly plan to do away with him forever…

There were certainly a few laughs along the way as Mr Robertson switches voices, gender, and facial expressions like a human cartoon figure, accompanied by a rich selection of well-chosen music, all the while paying affectionate tribute to the character and his world – one that everyone knows so well. So for any self-respecting Bond fan, this is a sprightly and impressive show that is required viewing (and not for my eyes only, I must hasten to add), and one that displays Gavin Robertson’s dexterous talent to the full.

So if you can’t get a ticket right away, don’t die another day, just book it for another day!

Lawrence Lettice