Review: Breaking Down

Amelia Tudhope 29 October 2014

While its name seems to invoke the sarcastic reaction, “Ooh that sounds cheery…”, Breaking Down defied expectations by proving itself a sensationally uplifting experience leaving the audience in gales of laughter.

The play opened with a slightly surreal start as four randy, rambling monks stumbled into the arms of their unwitting front row victims – perhaps not a play for those not a fan of audience participation, but very entertaining for everyone else.

The best sketches include a parody of the eternal darkness of Hollister, an over-enthusiastic triangle player battling with his conductor, a hobbit-hunting grandfather, an unhinged cowboy, and a hilarious retelling of Spartacus which was so good I was surprised it hadn’t been done before.

One of the many merits of Breaking Down is that each of the quartet, who all double as the writers and actors, have the chance to shine. Jake Spence’s German accent is comic genius and his conducting an impressive respiratory feat; Charlie James Robb is really brilliant as the terrible father figure we love to hate; and Henry Wilkinson fetching and side-splittingly funny in the guises of Victorian bonnet and Gandalf beard. However, the strongest performance of the night had to be from Douglas Tawn, who seemed to be born to his roles as both a deranged Texan and sassy, bitchy mother.

The only thing that stops me from giving the performance a full 10/10 is the slightly over-used toilet humour – literally: there were two toilet sketches, and by the end of the show I was far too well acquainted with the colourful array of the cast’s underpants than I had wanted to be. The cruder sketches – mainly involving poo, toilets, and penises – brought the tone down a little and were a bit unnecessary given how many other really superb clean scenes there were. 

Robb’s underwear also made an unexpected but extremely amusing cameo as his trousers ripped open after a particularly vigorous scene. However, he handled it with impressive grace and dignity and continued to sit in traditional, manly fashion whilst maintaining his character as a priest with remarkable aplomb.

Breaking Down was a roaring success: well-written, well acted, and a hit with the audience. For those looking for a good, light-hearted evening’s entertainment and a guaranteed laugh, Breaking Down is definitely recommended.


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'Breaking Down'  is playing at the Corpus Playroom at 9.30pm until Saturday 1st. Get your tickets online at