As Columbina (Gemma Whelan) broke the fourth wall to explain, “It’s a sort of cross between commedia dell’arte and a heist movie, I guess because they both use masks… but, hey, for series six you’ve got to allow for a certain artistic exhaustion.”
Commedia dell’arte, to save you Googling it, ‘is a theatrical form characterized by improvised dialogue and a cast of colourful stock characters that emerged in northern Italy in the fifteenth century and rapidly gained popularity throughout Europe.’
No artistic exhaustion was on display in this first episode of series 6. It was madcap, yes, but every bit as brilliant as all five preceding series. If co-writers Reece Shearsmith (also Scaramouche) and Steve Pemberton (Doc) had half as much fun creating this episode as this reviewer did watching it, then a good time was had by all.
The half hour was crammed with oral and visual puns and one-liners, together with running gags , one involving musical references and one that left Arlo (Kevin Bishop) and me hungry for more (you’ll see why). Thank goodness Wuthering Heist is available on BBC iplayer because it will have to be watched again, and maybe thrice, to catch all the jokes.
That will be no hardship.
With Paterson Joseph (Pantalone), Rosa Robson (Hortensia) and Dino Kelly (Mario) completing the excellent ensemble cast you are in for a treat. In fact, I’m off to watch it again now