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Chris Corcoran & Elis James: The Committee Meeting

Note: This review is from 2012

Review by Steve Bennett

This is the sort of show the Free Fringe was designed for: a couple of reasonably established comedians messing about on a side project more for their own pleasure than anything else.

But while some of the fun that Chris Corcoran and Elis James are having reflects back at the audience, The Committee Meeting is so sloppy and inconsequential, it  seems cheeky to charge up to  £10 for it.

The set-up suggests this might be some Welsh version of Absolutely’s Stoneybridge, with rural bumpkins making a meal of ambitious decision-making. In fact, the committee meeting conceit is largely redundant, save for allowing the comics to hide behind the characters – and I use the term loosely – of a working men’s club chairman and his hard-working caretaker.

In the meeting we, the punters, are supposed to be the other committee members; a set-up which largely exists to outsource picking on the audience. Rather than seeking volunteers directly, Corcoran’s Mr Chairman invites us to propose someone against their will… but there’s a huge reluctance to dob in a stranger, or even a friend so these segments always drag. Seems people are more generous than the comics anticipated.

Other than this, the set pieces bear no relation to the committee of a working men’s club. There’s a Mastermind competition, some video footage of vox pops recut to make the hapless members of the public look like they are talking about edible knickers, or a ‘name that tune’ quiz with the hits played out on a hotel-reception bell.

Quite why that latter segment even exists is something of a riddle; if you want to play silly parlour games, you don’t need an Edinburgh show to help you, and there’s no real joke to it, beyond how frivolous an exercise this is.

A haphazard, shonky sensibility runs through the show, and they get laughs from lost props, failed sound cues and falling out of character. How much of this is intentional is unclear, but it’s obvious that even at the best of times this is a loose hour that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

James and Corcoran have an easy style about them, shrugging off the snafus and engaging enjoyably with the audience, many of which seemed to be having a good time – if not quite as good a time as the people on stage. It feels more than a bit curmudgeonly not to go along with that playful spirit, but this show is too scrappily put-together to make a connection.

Mind you, the play-out video of a male voice choir singing Lily Allen and the like was great… now those guys, I’d like to see more of.

Review date: 4 Aug 2012
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Underbelly Bristo Square

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