Sideshow

When two inept criminals break into the home of a washed-up psychic in search of hidden loot, they get a lot more than they bargained for. In UK Cinemas from 11th March & available on Digital Download from 21st March. Pre-order here.

Written and directed by Adam Oldroyd who has put together a British comedy caper starring 80’s TV entertainer Les Dennis as Stuart Pendrick ‘the All Seeing Stupendo’. He’s an ageing mystic stage performer whose magical heyday is now a distant memory. Now performing to practically empty theatres with his tired old routine of mind tricks and contacting the spirit world, he’s become a twisted cynic passing on crude sexual messages from the afterlife to his diminishing audiences.

There’s a mysterious subplot where all his fellow mystics are being bumped off one by one (with the mystic’s gag being that these deaths are all the stranger because none of them saw it coming). Gerald (Anthony Head) is Pendrick’s slightly less beleaguered show business agent who is trying to keep both of their career’s going, as he deals with the complaints coming from the theatre manager and the general public over his client’s performances, as well as dealing with his client’s own scathing comments.

When Pendrick finishes his show and returns home one evening he is followed by two people in a car, Eva (April Pearson) and Dom (Nathan Clarke), two youthful looking cat burglars who we find out are intent on stealing his hidden fortune. April is the bossy female instigator of the break-in, sleekly dressed in a black leather jacket and jeans, who hides an ulterior motive, whilst Dom is her juvenile delinquent accomplice, who speaks in a funny street slang patter and has some mind problems of his own.

Of course their break-in doesn’t go totally to plan and the duo find themselves trying to persuade their kidnapped victim to tell them where the loot is whilst Pendrick tries to convince them of his mystic powers.

It doesn’t really justify its 15 rating except for a few risqué sexual references and Les Dennis’ character’s attempts at some British toilet humour, it would be far better suited for children. Dennis is much more in his comfort zone sending himself up as a performer in the twilight of his career rather than shocking with any adult humour but there is the occasional good comedic exchange like when Gerald finds Dom wearing a tiara and imagines him to be an intimate friend of his client’s.

Some other notable touches include the music score which has an Eastern European orchestration full of mystery and intrigue fitting of a mystery caper and there are some intriguing chapter headings throughout of words associated with the entertainment industry, which although lacking any obvious connection, have their literal and metaphoric meanings explained.

Comedies are never likely to win Academy awards and this one is no different. As a low budget British comedy it tries hard to blend the old with the new and is more farce than mystical that even 80s TV favourite Les Dennis could have foreseen would be hard to pull off.

Film: Sideshow

Director: Adam Oldroyd

Genre: Comedy, Crime

Stars: Les Dennis, Anthony Head, April Pearson, Nathan Clarke

Runtime: 1hr 34min

Rating: 15

Rated: 3/5

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