death drop 2

Death Drop Back in The Habit

The Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham


Naughty but nice is not even the half of it. This is definitely not one for maiden aunts while the local parish priest is no doubt organising an exorcism as we speak – mind you Guinness World Records has probably found a new champion for the number of ring jokes and references in a single production.

There are some lovely funny lines in this tongue in cheek (cheek as in mouth, just to be clear in the circumstances) tale of Satanic(ish) horror, and there is a wonderful rapport with the audience as the cast peer regularly through the fourth wall, drifting towards panto or even Rocky Horror at times,

We have a glorious set of gloomy cloisters and flickering lights Roger Corman or Hammer would be proud of, thanks to designer Peter McKintosh, along with special effects and moments of sheer terror (all right, perhaps not actually moments, but people did jump at one point).

It’s an amalgam of low budget horror movies mixed with Carry On films allied with a penchant for an area of humour that I would say had bottomed out, but that would be merely pandering to the same level. And as for camp? A boy scout world jamboree would be hard pushed to match it.

This is Death Drop 2, and for those who saw the first of the breed this is not a sequel but a new cast and a new genre, from country house murder to gothic(ish) horror, again with a cast dragged from BBC’s RuPaul’s Drag Race UK.

Father Alfa Romeo, a lovely comic portrayal by LoUis CYfer, is sent by his Cardinal, played by Corrina Buchan, to investigate the disappearance of Father Spanking at the convent of the secretive order of St Bab’s, an order which it seems can only muster enough nuns for a hand of bridge, but no matter. It is a dark and gloomy place with reports of mysterious goings on, and a goat giving birth to kittens! (Cue dramatic music)

alfa romea

In charge is the Mother Superior, a brilliant performance from Victoria Scone with impeccable timing and a lovely line in asides.

Then there is Sister Maria JulieAndrews – oh come on, how can you have a comedy about nuns without a Sound of Music reference – played in a very English way by Jujubee, the moan about the accent comes later. She gives us a rendering of a song not dissimilar to My Favourite Things - to avoid any unseemly copyright wranglings - and despairs at the lack of Nazis in the show whose presence would surely have made her the star.

Cherry Hole weighs in as Sister Mary Berry who gives us grace, sort of, gives birth Alien style (sort of) to a Paul Hollywood (sort of) creature and she has hysterics a lot, even losing her head at one point - decapitation always being a one off.

And, adding a voice of reason is Sis Titis who doesn’t just call a spade a spade but an effing spade, and effing everything else for that effing matter. Let us say her vocabulary is colourful, but she chucks in a lively song and like the rest of the cast, shows wonderful timing.

She is effing played by Kitty Scott-Claus who you might remember was fun, and showed some classy cooking skills on Celebrity MasterChef last year.

So the arrival of Father Alfa sets in train a collection of pastiches of pretty much every low budget horror film going with zombies, ghostly killer children with an Exorcist bent, an appearance of Satan, with, it seems, no hairdressers in hell, and death by crucifix, with lots of blood to boot. We even get the ultimate blasphemy and quotes from Lord of the Rings in the same sentence.

We have Scooby Doo chases and some wonderful long distance runs and climbs up and down staircases all without moving which was comedy gold, a moving doorway everyone keeps forgetting to use, and, just to keep the horror going, dramatic sound and lighting courtesy of Beth Duke and Rory Beaton.

I must admit some of the jokes and references were lost on me having never seen a Drag Race episode - nothing personal, I just spend a lot of evenings in darkened theatres - but an enthusiastic audience enjoyed them.

And some of the dialogue was lost, but perhaps again that was unfamiliarity with the characters, but there is a serious word of warning.

The language is, should we say, effing colourful and some of the humour promotes mere risqué way beyond ribald to downright outrageous and vulgar. Subtle it ain’t so this is not a production for the faint hearted or those who prefer their theatre to be of a more homely nature.

Robert Evans script is at times witty and clever and at times lewd and crude, but perhaps goes a little far with sacrilege at one point, a reference to a fictious saint with a suggestive name rather than Jesus would have made for a laugh with no loss of effect and without risking causing unnecessary offence or unease to some audience members.

That being said it does what it sets out to do, helped by a cast with superb comic timing and acting. It’s fun, clever, camp and crude, a ring cycle with more double entendres than you can shake a stick at.

Directed by Jesse Jones the nuns will be dying to make you laugh to 18-03-23.

Roger Clarke


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