Hanks and Conran: Fringe 2012

Note: This review is from 2012

Review by Alex Mason

Pigs in Blankets refers to the weight of the performers, as explained at the beginning along with some fat jokes. The format is uncommon, with both performers effectively doing stand-up in the form of jokes taken at the other one's expense.

This banter is hit and miss, with simple knock up, hit down insults that have the feel of Henny Youngman if not the bite. There's a lot of a lowbrow jokes and bog standard toilet humour, plus the obligatory 50 Shades of Grey reference. If there was an award for worst pun of the Fringe, the Vodka & Mime bit may be the runaway winner.

There's audience participation, involving character acting from a play written by Conran dedicated to Bobby Ball (played by an audience member). A Midsummer Night's Dream this is not, with the sole joke being Conran forcing Hanks to read disparaging things about herself. It's overdrawn and unfunny, though a homage to Cannon & Ball is definitely appreciated.

Both performers are funny people, but it translates badly to stand-up. There's not much material here, with a couple of short stories apiece, and it's mainly confined to insult comedy and self-deprecation. It feels as if they'd have been better having segments to themselves to run through a few jokes before bouncing off each other, as this style feels untamed and shaky.

Hanks & Conran seem to be aiming this show at the older generation. There's no attempt to be clever or modern and the jokes more resemble the Northern Working Men's Club of the Seventies than your usual Fringe show.

The format is unconvincing and seems to do more harm than good. The whole appears less than the sum of the parts and things might have been funnier with more breathing room to connect with the audience and tell jokes.

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Published: 15 Aug 2012

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