Will Seaward Goes to El Dorado

★★★
comedy review | Read in About 2 minutes
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Will Seaward
Published 16 Aug 2017

Will Seaward is genuinely, terrifyingly charismatic. Inhabiting the narrow niche between Sergeant Major and pantomime king, here's a man who could in all likelihood pull together and command a half decent non-state army over the course of the Fringe. Which is almost exactly what he's doing, except he's attempting to bring together a band of modern-day conquistadors. Together they are going to find El Dorado. And do you know the maddest thing? There's people genuinely putting down their names for it. "I am contractually obliged to entertain you before recruiting you to your deaths," Seaward thunders (thundering being his default mode of communicating).

And entertain us he certainly does. Seaward was born a) to command, but also b) to spin yarns, and this one here is a particularly well-researched one. He tells the story (or stories) of El Dorado, and the many hunts for said lost city of gold. Few performers can actually make their eyes twinkle when they say "gold" as can Seaward. With skill, enthusiasm and a delicious, archaic turn of phrase ("I cannot express quite how much gold will be waiting for us in El Dorado!") he draws us into the spirit of adventure.

It's definitely all a bit one-toned – if, indeed, thunder has a tone. For all the fascinating primary sources that Seaward reads out, they are all read as Seaward. In his cast of adventurers, villains and nutters, there's surely room for another voice? And if he really wants us engaged in the story of El Dorado he could perhaps use some visuals to help us remember the miscellany of places and people which, otherwise, blend into a Amazonian flood of incidental detail. His one gesture towards stagecraft is a map – which falls down anyway. But still, people signed up, notwithstanding the risk of death. Job done.