The 1 Like Fish
Topping & Butch
Two Episodes Of MASH
Topping and Butch: Cherie Blair
More Topping & Butch videos
|Topping and Butch: Cherie Blair|
Topping & Butch: Sex, Drugs & Harriet Harman
Cheekily camp Topping and Butch have such innate warmth and charm that they could be Morecambe and Wise on Poppers… even if they’ve yet to find their Eddie Braben to mould their appealing personalities into comedy gold.
In Sex, Drugs & Harriet Harman, the duo even ape Eric and Ernie’s use of an aloof guest star, in the exquisitely vampish form of Maria Tecce, a mesmerising mezzo-soprano who gamely plays sultry straightwoman to their frisky shenanigans. Four Poofs And A Piano also do a guest turn, but with no such attempt at integrating their outré ditties into the greater show.
These days Topping and Butch leave their leather bondage gear back in the dungeon, and perform instead in stylish smoking jackets, reflecting their debt to Noel Coward, whose pithy, barbed intimate revue songs they clearly hope to emulate.
Their constantly updated signature tune, Never Mind, is probably the best example of this; limerick-like couplets applied to the news of the day with a cheerily old-fashioned piano accompaniment. The emphasis is on the playfully silly, rather than any sharp satirical points, but they score full marks for topicality.
That lightness of touch lets them get away with utter filth, such as a song about picking up rough trade in a taxi, yet make it seem little more than cheekiness. Even any passing maiden aunts are more likely to shriek in delight than disgust. Another highlight is their catty assault on Lily Allen – employing the same talking-singing style, naturally – which is fun even for fans of the LDNer’s work.
But as a whole this show – the second of four, weekly residencies at the Leicester Square Theatre – is rather slipshod. The duo stumble over their words several times in the first half, and much of their energies seems to be directed at remembering their material, rather than best performing lines they know backwards. The whole Harriet Harman idea is a red herring, too; with an occasional mention of her allegedly being on the phone while driving thrown in to justify the title, even though they have no apparent interest in Harman as any sort of theme.
They’ve got the charisma not to let any of the flaws drag them down, of course, performing with a merry impudence and a glint in their eyes that’s largely irresistible. But there’s still the feeling that they’re falling short of the heights their talents could take them for want of more preparation and firmer direction.
|Date of live review: Thursday 3rd Dec, '09|
Review by Steve Bennett
Kempinska's opening night
Sunday 13th Nov, '11- Kempinska's
Friday 23rd Mar, '07-
Show - Edinburgh Fringe 2005 - Sunday 0th Aug, '05-
Show - Edinburgh Fringe 2003 - Thursday 0th Aug, '03-
Absolutely brilliant, a near the knuckle belly laugh comedy that comics tend not to have from the university stables, This is where the fashion Vic and Bob started in the 9Os should have gone, instead of absorption into the mainstream and out into fast food standup as we now have it. The Gilbert and George of comedy, they should breakthrough soon!
I saw them at the Leicester Highlight on Sat 30 April 2011 and they were nothing short of brilliant! Topically sharp yet wonderfully ridiculous; Hilariously camp yet brilliantly self deprecating these two have an act that'll keep you laughing so hard you'll struggle to keep up. Thankfully they've taken to leaving the bondage gear at home - I have to admit I was a bit worried when I googled them knowing we were seeing them at my stag do and I wasn't sure 13 boozed up lads would all take to it, but the times have changed and so has their attire it would seem. Awesome stuff
Enjoyable, funny and quite loveable.
My son and I first caught them at the Fringe in 2004 and lorded it over my daughter all winter with little snatches of song. Funniest thing he and I saw that year. Whole family saw them in 2004 and 2005 (both shows) being sure to go to the loo before hand. After all, accidents will happen. Completely disappointed they were not at the Fringe in 2007. See them if you can but go to the loo first.
Me and my other half have seen Topping & Butch on several occasions and we love them - seeing the words 'Topping & Butch' on your ticket or on the poster at the venue is your guarantee of a fantastic night. I'd downloaded mp3's but was still quite unsure because I felt uncomfortable about something that, whilst very well written, just seemed a bit 'twee', then we chanced upon them live. That was such a reassuring revelation! They're such a contradiction in so many ways - music hall style songs but BDSM gear, innocent and cuddly but rude and sometimes shocking even to this jaded fool. Basically what you see and the impression that gives you doesn't guarantee anything, and that's the beauty. Any prejudice, whether it's you liking the music and being shocked by the costumes, or being into the camp and rude side but feeling a little uneasy about the style of song, you end up seeing and hearing such a mix of things that you quickly realise what you loved in the first place isn't diluted and that what you didn't like is not actually an issue. Their audience handling is second to none, leaving the audience feeling safe yet still involved without being picked on (which is often the way in gay cabaret), and if you are fortunate to see them live you will see how their treatment of the audience adds so much to their act and separates them from lesser performers. If you get a chance to see these guys, you really ought to.
Topping and Butch: Take It Up The Octave
Edinburgh Fringe 2004
Topping And Butch Pull Out Now
Topping And Butch's Afternoon Tease (Weapons of Ma
Edinburgh Fringe 2005
Topping & Butch: A Lot to Take In
Topping & Butch: Filth!
Edinburgh Fringe 2006
Topping & Butch And Friends
Topping And Butch: Filth!
Edinburgh Fringe 2009
Topping & Butch: Twisted
Edinburgh Fringe 2010
Topping & Butch: Filth! 
|Michael Topping and Andrew Simmons|