Kelly Stewart

Look up! Look down! Look out!

"Bullshot Crummond" rides again in a new, campy, serial stage adventure at Lakewood

Lakewood Theatre Company continues its love affair with the Golden Age of Hollywood by rolling out lock, stock and smoking barrel a side-splitting homage to the dashing detective. Bullshot Crummond: The Evil Eye of Jabar and The Invisible Bride of Death, in its world-premiere production, is a parody H.C. McNeile’s popular 1920s and ’30s series of books featuring the war hero Bulldog Drummond, and also  takes its cues from Inspector Clouseau, while maintaining the stiff British upper lip. It’s based on the original Bullshot Crummond, which was first staged in 1974 and was later put on the silver screen by George Harrison’s Handmade Films. Ron House, one of the original actors and writers, wrote the new play, it’s directed by another original actor/writer, Alan Shearman, and it’s one of Lakewood’s most extravagant productions this season.

Andrew Harris and Spencer Conway hit the road (and the sheep). Triumph Photography

Andrew Harris and Spencer Conway hit the road (and the sheep). Triumph Photography

Bullshot, played by Spencer Conway, is a drop-dead handsome specimen of a man whose reputation and virility are due in part to his lapping-up of the English countryside and service to the crown during World War I. While popular opinion finds him to be a bangers-and-mash version of Philip Marlowe, Bullshot has a half-empty cerebral tank to take into battle against German spies. His lack of ingenuity recalls the naughty innuendos that made Peter Sellers’ Goon Show a smash hit and inspired a generation of comedy such as Monty Python’s Flying Circus, early Woody Allen, and the somewhat entertaining It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World. Bullshot Crummond is an American-written lampoon mashup of P.G. Wodehouse and Ian Fleming. Conway is the iconic caricature of the tally-ho officer strutting across stage with the imperialist swagger of a man out on a lion hunt in a zoo. His Jeeves is his fiancee, Rosemary, played by Kelly Stewart. Rosemary has the British lisp; she’s the milk-and-honey Elysian virgin soon to be caught up in a spy adventure. There are some over-the-top gaffes as they play out their romance, and it’s a nice laugh back to bawdy but less explicit times, when sex was more taboo.

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