+3 Review: Lords of Strut: Late Night TV Talk Show (Assembly Roxy: 5-28 Aug: 19.00: 1hr)

“Crams so much ridiculousness into an hour that you can’t help but laugh at something”

Editorial Rating: 4 Stars

Sometimes you have to see a DJ dressed as a bunny, a man pretending to be a rock and a Michael Flatley tribute to really feel like you’ve experienced the Fringe properly. This show crams all that and so much more ridiculousness into an hour that you can’t help but laugh at something.

It’s very full-on and upbeat, if a little chaotic, and the energy of our hosts Sean and Seamus is infectious – striking that perfect balance between confidence and self-deprecation to form an instant connection with the audience. We join them in their attempt to put on their own late-night tv talk show, and we are their live studio audience. Of course it doesn’t go at all to plan and they have to make various fudges to keep things running – and that’s when the hilarity ensues.

As with any chat show the format is a serious of skits and characters making guest appearances, the funniest of these being the appearance of the hosts’ mother as a last-minute stand-in – a plus-sized, randy cougar who of course makes her rounds in the audience to find a man. I won’t spoil the surprise, but let’s just say I (along with various other male members of the audience) was invited to do something I have categorically NEVER done before, and something which caused much hilarity (and a little disbelief) among the crowd. To those with a delicate disposition, look the other way and run, fast!

In saying that, what is pleasantly surprising about this show is how talented the Lords are: early on we are treated to a no-holds barred dance routine to one of Queen’s greatest hits, with various acrobatic tricks thrown in for good measure, and both gentleman are genuinely funny and creative in their costume designs and skit ideas. The “rough around the edges” and slightly improvised feel adds to its charm, if not to my personal taste.

With stand-up, storytelling, dance breaks, weird and wonderful characters, fight sequences, and of course, a healthy dab of audience interaction this show does have something for everyone, but having a drink or two before going to see it might be advisable…

Star (blue)Star (blue)Star (blue)Star (blue)

Reviewer: Steve Griffin (Seen 5 August)

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Floe­-Joe’s Faces (Just The Tonic @ The Mash House, 24 -30 Aug : 21.00 : 1hr)

“A very entertaining show, with plenty of giggles”

Editorial Rating: 3 Stars: Nae Bad

The premise of this character comedy show is very interesting – having three different characters discuss their contribution to the mysterious “Floe-Joe’s” new album, track by track, at its first “listening party”, hosted by the main man. The whole show is underpinned by a selection of what I can only describe as incidental hip-hop – the kind that might play in the lift of a trendy club, which sets out a very clear vibe for the show overall, and its use and styling works very well to cover the transitions between each character, as well as giving each one its own soundtrack.

First up is the drunken and ballsy Irishman Fergyl Walsh, whose brother is Louis Walsh. He rants about being misunderstood and the angst involved in creating the album. It’s a gutsy performance, even if the accent slipped a little from time to time.

Next up is recently graduated RnB singer U (yes, that’s his name), who is desperate to move on from being a hooker (the singer that just sings the “hook” of a song, while the rapper hogs most of the limelight). Compared to the brash Fergyl, U is shy and assuming, and because of that is very likeable. Through various snippets in this section, Fairey also boasts a surprisingly impressive singing voice, and it was a shame not to hear more of it.

The final character of the show is the multi-faceted and over-confident street dancer, Lydia Left, who longs to break away from her dance troupe and achieve the stardom she dreams of. While something of a stereotype that doesn’t bring much uniqueness to the stage, she still manages to get the party started and the whole audience on their feet.

As can be expected of a slightly quirky character comedy, there are various moments when Fairey interacts with the audience -asking us to recount something good that’s happened today, or to predict what song might be playing in our heads. There’s also a great moment at the end where we get the chance to try out a few dance moves on stage, which was actually very refreshing and nowhere near as awkward as one might think.

A couple of the jokes fell a little flat, and there were a few moments that Fairey seemed a little apologetic for the performance, rather than oozing with confidence that a show like this really needs. However, on the whole it was a solid and very entertaining show, with plenty of giggles, and different to anything I’ve seen before.


nae bad_blue

Star (blue)Star (blue)Star (blue)

Reviewer: Steve Griffin (Seen 27 August)

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Sophie Pelham: Country Files (Pleasance Courtyard, 7 – 30 Aug : 16.45 : 1hr)

“Likeable, effusive, hilarious”

Editorial Rating: 3 Stars: Nae Bad

Upon entering the Pleasance Cellar (sorry, Dorset) the audience is offered a tot of sherry and a sausage roll to get into the mood. For me, in this, my third back-to-back show, this seemed like a dream come true. And indeed the dream continued for the first 10 minutes or so when Pelham, as village lady-of-leisure Vanessa Bluwer hilariously tells us about life in Kilmington, her noble employers, and the various courses she runs on a voluntary basis (everything from breast-feeding to bereavement counselling). As this character Pelham is likeable, effusive and strikes a good balance between prepared material and audience interaction.

Alas, after this the show falters somewhat, with a series of less well developed characters, too much audience interaction and little drive to keep the performance moving. Pelham’s Lord Ponsanby, a drunken country gent utters my funniest line of the show “I’m not homosexual, just bloody posh”, but falls flat after a few minutes and it’s a bit of a relief when she goes off to change again. Two of her characters are animals (a badger and a fox respectively, the less said about those the better), but posh school girl Primrose and yummy mummy Sulky Waterboat are both enjoyable, making fun of relevant stereotypes.

While some parts of the audience interaction in this show were great – getting various members to hold a hobby horse, read a letter and answer the odd question – I felt that on the whole there was an over reliance on this, and as the show went on there was a definite sense of awkwardness in the room, particularly among those in the front row who seemed to get “picked on” multiple times.

And just as the level of audience interaction was pushing it, sometimes her jokes also strayed over the line into being somewhat cringeworthy, the worst offender of these definitely being the one about the Muslims… hushed silence all round. Some gags were spot on tone-wise though: safer topics included politics and class, both suitably ridiculed, while even references to underage sex got a few chuckles.

Overall, I think this show has the bones of something that could be really special, but would be better if it focused on fewer individual characters, and having a clearer sense of narrative between them, to keep the show flowing from one scene to the next. A good effort.

nae bad_blue

Star (blue)Star (blue)Star (blue)

Reviewer: Steve Griffin (Seen 22 August)

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