Seize Them! Review

Seize Them!
The Dark Ages. Cosseted Queen Dagan (Aimee Lou Wood) is ousted by a revolution spearheaded by rebel upstart ‘Humble’ Joan (Nicola Coughlan). Rescued by her loyal servant Shulmay (Lolly Adefope), Dagan embarks on a quest to win back her throne.

by Ian Freer |
Updated on

When you consider the pantheon of comedies with exclamation marks in the title, the quality quotient runs from the sublime Safety Last! and — all hail the king — Airplane! to the piss-poor Attack Of The Killer Tomatoes! and Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot. Curtis Vowell’s Seize Them! sits somewhere in the middle of the pack, a sweary, enjoyable medieval romp that hits and misses in equal measure but gets by on appealing actors and its unapologetically puerile spirit.

Screenwriter Andy Riley (a co-writer on The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists! and Ruddy Hell! It’s Harry and Paul — he does love an exclamation mark!) contributed to the Horrible Histories movie, and Seize Them! shares some HH DNA, if not the gag-rate. The set-up sees spoilt, bratty Queen Dagan (Aimee Lou Wood, seemingly channelling Blackadder’s Queenie but finding her own groove as the character softens) overthrown by despot-in-waiting ‘Humble’ Joan (Nicola Coughlan, having a ball) during a dinner scene reminiscent of Carry On Up The Khyber. Dagan is saved by her intelligent attendant Shulmay (Lolly Adefope)and the unlikely duo head out to find sanctuary with Dagan’s royal Scandi cousins, played as bantering bros by Paul Kaye and John Macmillan.

It's as cheap as ye olde chips and it doesn’t all land, but there is likable chemistry between the central troika

En route, the pair soon pick up thick-but-loyal peasant Bobik (Nick Frost), a “shit spader” who was born in a bin, clothed as a child in nettles (his first word was “ouch”) and does a funny litany of the different types of poo he shovels. It’s not long before the trio encounter James Acaster as a travelling ironmonger, get attacked by a man-wolf in a forest, and fumble trying to dispose of a dead body, all the while being chased by Jessica Hynes’ relentless courtesan Leofwine (Hynes and Frost sharing the screen makes this a low-key Spaced reunion).

It's as cheap as ye olde chips and it doesn’t all land, but there is likable chemistry between the central troika, the ever-dependable Adefope giving it both laughs and a surprisingly emotional undertow. A fun jaunt, then, rather than a Fun Jaunt!

It doesn’t reach the heights of Horrible Histories — let alone Monty Python And The Holy Grail — but Seize Them! turns the Dark Ages into the daft ages, delivering a mostly entertaining, female-centred comedy enlivened by winning performances.
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