shows / Bless



“Hallelujah for Spymonkey! The patron saints of lunacy”

In Spring 2007 Spymonkey made BLESS, a miraculously divine revue about the lives of saints. Their third collaboration with writer/director Cal McCrystal, BLESS was previewed at the Ticino Theatre Switzerland, Newbury Corn Exchange and Gardner Centre Brighton before a beginning a three-week residency at the Big Secret Theatre, Calgary, a sell-out success. It won best comedy, best musical and best female performance at Calgary’s Betty Mitchell Awards 2007.

The show combines the company’s trademark physical comedy with cabaret, dance, music, song, illusion, puppetry and video.

Highlights included:

  •     The parable of Mother Theresa, the Good Samaritan and the dirty beggar
  •     How the Butcher of Tijuana got his name
  •     A pert but upliftingly chaste 1970s guitar folk four-tet with some sage advice
  •     Operetta Bernadetta: A jazz libretto about a young French maiden, the astonishing discovery she makes, and her edifying demise at the hands of the cruel mayor of Orléans. Historically accurate
  •     The Dybbuk presented through the magic of Bunraku puppetry
  •     An interpretation of Oscar Wilde’s epic poem Salome in which Iokanaan The Baptist resists the Dance of the Seven Veils, rendered in stark Modern Constructivist style.
  •     A number of actual miracles.

“With Bless, a dastardly backdoor examination of the men and women we now venerate as saints, Spymonkey completes the trilogy of hilarity it began with Stiff and continued with Cooped… They display their ingenuity by playing to each other’s stregnths – Massey’s over the top delivery tempers Basauri’s understated comic timing. Bless’s genius lies [in] bringing down the godly to a human level… to laugh at what we hold sacred – and still hold it sacred” FFWD Magazine

“A riotous 70-minute reflection on spiritual matters in which nothing is sacred. We’ve got Mother Theresa trading blows with the Good Samaritan over who’s going to attend to the stranger by the side of the road; and Saint Bernadette who, whilst burning at the stake, displays a remarkable erotic ability in pole-dancing, and that’s just for starters. All a lot of fun and really well done. I must just mention Petra Massey who is a particular treat. There’s a childlike innocence to what they’re doing, the audience enjoyed it immensely.” Sharon Pollock, Homestretch CBC Radio, Alberta

“A kind of European Union of funny… laugh-out-loud funny, smart funny. Spymonkey have created a demented variety show hosted by actor-turned-priest Father Forbes Murdston who hopes to help three career criminals achieve spriritual salvation by acting in a play that recreates their crimes in a variety of biblical scenes, saints, (deliberately) bad European variety show musical and video numbers, and a finale that slays some of the most popular conventions of experimental theatre…” Calgary Herald

“The highlight of the cast is Park, who displays his delightfully altruistic priest with equal measures of honesty and lucid sarcasm… both identifiable for his naivete and hilarious for his sincerity.” FFWD Magazine

“Bonkers, anarchic and brilliantly random” Brighton Argus

“There’s hardly a dry eye in the house. The audience are helpless with laughter, but Spymonkey leave no time to catch breath between scenes. ‘You couldn’t ever put it into words, you just have to see it!’ says an audience member after the show, wiping the tears from her face.” Zurichsee Zeitung

“Hilarious… Brilliant comic timing… Going to see Spymonkey is like having a mud bath – you’re bound to leave with your spirits lifted and feeling a little dirty” Calgary Sun


Performed by Spymonkey: Aitor Basauri, Graeme Gilmour, Stephan Kreiss, Petra Massey & Toby Park

Directed by Cal McCrystal

Costume Design Lucy Bradridge

Set Design Graeme Gilmour

Original Music Toby Park

Lighting Design Catherine Williams

Production Manager Tanya Peters

Production LX & Sound Andy Purves

Poster Design Tork

Studio Stills Photography Sean Dennie

Production Photography Bernhard Fuchs

Video camera & edit Murray Buesst

Video Gallery


Unit 7b Level 3 North, New England House,
New England St, Brighton BN1 4GH


Spymonkey is resident ensemble company at Royal & Derngate, Northampton.

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