In early 2013, two friends and I decided to try and achieve our long-term ambition. We had performed short humorous sketches at school together for three years, but we wanted to entertain the general public and were confident that we were suitably experienced to produce a longer form of comedy for this very purpose. The fruits of our labour was The Donfather, an hour-long theatrical extravaganza parodying American gangster films. Much effort was put into the play’s production, including my own attempts to grow a moustache appropriate for a respected mafia Don. Alack, my facial fur required emergency dying, for despite the attractive brown hair lying atop my head, my upper lip’s newly grown fluff was inexplicably a natural blonde colour! Nonetheless, this potential pitfall was dealt with and The Donfather enjoyed a successful nine-day run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival with a single sell-out show in London.
My aim is to reawaken The Donfather as director, with a brand new extended cast at Netherhall House in February 2015. All characters, both male and female, will be played by students currently residing at Netherhall—as will the stage crew facilitating the production. The Donfather will be performed free of charge in Netherhall House’s auditorium, which can hold over a hundred audience members and all are most welcome.
The play tells the story of Charlie Messenger, an up-and-coming police officer from Chicago, who has managed to infiltrate the gang of a ruthless mafia kingpin, Don Andusted. Charlie finds himself questioning where his loyalties lie, as the Don’s arch nemesis ‘Le Schmúck’ returns from the dead, thirsty for revenge. Despite its seemingly sinister storyline, The Donfather is a light-hearted, upbeat production that aims to amuse rather than shock. In fact, I would describe it as a pastiche of overly serious movie plots. One might label it a ‘traditional comedy’, with much emphasis placed on puns, wordplay and physical humour in its ‘joke a minute’ format. It was described by the online reviewer Broadway Baby during its run at the Edinburgh Festival as ‘a well-written and funny show’ with praise also reserved for its ‘strong punchlines’. In writing The Donfather, my friends and I were highly influenced by the Zucker-Abrahams style of humour seen in films such as Airplane! We also endeavoured to create a show that could be enjoyed by a wide variety of people, because as teenagers we knew that it might be easy for reviewers to jump to conclusions about the style of humour employed in our writing simply because of our adolescence.
It is my plan to stage an entertaining, fast-paced play supported by a soundtrack made up of funk music from the 1970’s, the era in which The Donfather is set. Our cast consists of an international group of young men that hail from three continents, with some playing multiple characters within the story. I am confident that the three performances, each lasting one hour will be memorable, fresh and funny.
Archie Croft, Director.
The Donfather will be performed at Netherhall House, Nutley Terrace, London, NW3 5SA
Provisional Show Dates: Thursday February 26 – Saturday February 28. 8.00pm-9.00pm.
Admission : free of charge.