What is a broadcaster to do? Sky One has a new series – the last series – of one of the most talked-about TV shows in recent history to publicise, Lost, but no-one on the show is letting any clips or stills from the new season leak out, keeping it shrouded in tantalisingly spoiler-free mystery. Which is a bit of a problem when the publicity blitz for a new season is usually based around showing the first episode to a bunch of journalists so that they can go away and rave about the show (or otherwise, in some cases, but that's a risk you run).
But Sky One came up with an ingenious solution for the UK Lost Season Six launch last night – they got The Reduced Shakespeare Company to write and perform The First Five Seasons Of Lost In Under Ten Minutes. And it was inspired.
The boarding area was also decked out with idiosyncratic Lost paraphernalia, such as a mini-replica of the bunker with its own antiquated - and fully working – PC, though sadly if you typed in the "numbers" nothing special happened (boo!). We were a bit bizarred out by the message someone had left wondering where Jedward were, though.
On a screen, a specially-shot clip of Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof introduced the performance, with Damon amusingly faking ignorance about what was occurring: "We're sad we can’t be there with you watching the great British actors of the Royal Shakespeare Company perform 104 hours of our writing in just two and a half hours!" he enthused (or word to that effect – no recording devices allowed either). When Cuse corrected him, pointing out that it was the American actors of The Reduced Shakespeare Company doing the whole thing in ten minutes, Lindelof’s reaction was a simple, "F**k!" Priceless.
Then onto the performance itself. Bloody hilarious, reimagining the "baby stealing" Others as a tribe lead by Madonna and Angelina Jolie; brilliantly summing up season four in five words – "There was a writer's strike" - and getting good mileage out of Jim from Neighbours’s nefarious plot to appear in every American show currently on TV. Three guys played all the roles, with the aid of a variety of wigs, a false naked chest, a doll, a polar bear head, a big stick (remember Mr Eko?) and a toy plane. By the time-traveling antics of season five they’d virtually given up trying to make any sense as one of the cast refused to take part any more and joined the crowd demanding answers.
Our Jayne, though, came up with the priceless line herself, just after the performance finished. Y'see, the play had also poked much fun at the show’s various big explosions by intermittently throwing glitter into the into the air, a lot of which settled on the people in the front row. As the lights went up, Jayne turned to glitter-covered guy sitting next to her and said, "You've got a piece of Arzt on you." Know what? He got it, and laughed. And that’s about the geekiest Lost reference you'll read all day.