Image: Pamela Raith


The laughter boffins at Mischief Comedy strike gold with a contemporary comedy that charms and tickles in equal measure.

Groan Ups tells the tale of a gaggle of giggly toddlers taking their first tentative steps into the world of education, before following them to teenagers and then reunited as adults years later.

The hapless crew are thrust upon their audience in a side-splittingly chaotic assembly performance, which would give credit to even the most uncoordinated of Nativities.

Dharmesh Patel as Spencer (c) Pamela Raith

Preying on the innocence of the toddlers, an unfiltered observational stream of dysfunctional home lives are laid bare. The results vary from the silly to the saucy – and each is rib-tickling good.

Mischief Theatre is a master of organised chaos. Groan Ups tones down some of the physical gags and replace them with a razor-sharp script that delights audiences young and old.

Keeping their cheeky charm through school and into adulthood, the second Act replays their younger years with a clever familiarity – and some hilariously awkward consequences.

Amidst the chaos that undoubtedly unfolds, the story does have a good heart with some twists and turns along the way.

The five-strong leads bounce off each other with intense energy and perfect timing. Each member is like a piece in a jigsaw – slotting perfectly in to make a seemingly effortless end result.

While the piece will. be choreographed to within an inch of its life – not least to let the physical humour sing – it doesn’t seem staged or forced.

Stealing the show is Simon (Matt Cavendish) – whose winge-prone toddler is impossible not to fall for. The transition to an overconfident adult doesn’t take long to crumble, yet Cavendish still has the audience on side.

Lauren Samuels as Katie (c) Pamela Rait

Fly Davis’ incredible sets tower high above the toddlers. Chairs, mops and space hoppers are scaled to gigantic proportions – yet the whole affair remedies as the young troupe get older.

While the second Act does wander a little, it’s impossible not to be captured by the story of these hopeless

Groan Ups is a tonic for the soul and a workout for the chuckle muscles. If you’re looking for a laugh, look no further than this carefully crafted night of belly laughter.

Groan Ups at Theatre Royal, Glasgow until 30 October, then touring

Image Credit: Pamela Rait