The first review appeared in the specialist Fringe review paper called Three Weeks, and it reads as follows:
The Adventures of Stoke Mandeville, Astronaut and GentlemanMandeville Enterprises
Newcastle lawyer Graham suddenly finds himself in an alternate dimension alongside heroic agent Stoke Mandeville; together, they must foil a dastardly French plot whose tendrils extend right to the engineering wonder of the British Empire. Obviously owing a debt to 'The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen', 'The Goon Show' and anything by Jules Verne, the play creates a steampunk world with stereotypical Victorianisms which are marvellously parodied for ever-increasing laughs. Nikolas Lloyd revels in the role of the gentleman adventurer Mandeville, every inch the comic mythic hero and Richard Llewellyn displays great derring-do and versatility, while the charming Sarah Cleeve provides an effective foil for the pair's proto-macho banter. Fellow supporting players Scott Hutchinson and David Redcliff contribute a wide range of characters to the adventure, each funnier than the last. The script is rich with detail and dialogue, including a perfect 'Blues Brothers' parody. Pithy lines and pith helmets, steam-powered stellar carriages and stiff upper lips; marvellous! "Brace yourself!"
Augustine's, 13-26 (not 19), 9.50 pm (11pm), £6.50 (£4.50), fpp 108. * * * *
Given how praising the text is, one wonders why we only got four, not the maximum five, stars, but no matter, this is a great review. A couple of days after reading this, I passed a comic shop and saw in the window a copy of a comic called 'The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen', to which I apparently owe a great debt. I had never heard of it before, and it was written years after we wrote Stoke Mandeville. I should have guessed that the review writer was a comic reader, because of his use of the term 'steampunk'.
The cast is pleased with the individual mentions, even if no-one knows what a foil for proto-macho banter actually is. Richard is of course delighted with 'derring-do', as he is a fight arranger, and wannabe swash-buckling matinee idol. We tease him for being praised for versatility, since he is the only one of us who plays just the one character.