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Peacock & Gamble: Fringe 2012

Note: This review is from 2012

Review by Steve Bennett

It’s a good job Ray Peacock and Ed Gamble don’t want to be on telly anyway – and it is entirely their choice, of course – since TV does not have a great record of transferring big, dumb but hilarious comedians to the small screen. Three words: We. Are. Klang.

Indeed, live is the only way to properly experience this madness, and preferably alongside as many people prepared to throw themselves into the anarchic spirit as possible. It’s a good crowd tonight, for sure, even catching our ebullient hosts out by participating more than they are used to.

But they are such infectious fools, so it’s not such a great surprise. They hark back to old-school double acts where the stupid leads the stupider into bold, overplayed sketches.

There’s a real lack of cynicism in the way they throw themselves into the action. And what action there is, as they’ve chucked all manner of sketch ideas at the wall.  It ramps up the frenetic pace, meaning no joke outstays its welcome (though crap ventriloquist’s puppet Naughty Keith comes close) and they’ve always get a get-out for any situation, by just returning to one of several other running gags.

For some reason, allegedly unknown even to them, P&G have decided to set their show in a lighthouse. Truth is they are more canny than that, and it helps evoke the spirit of children’s shows such as Emu and his Pink Windmill, regressing their audience to youthful high spirits.

Silly, enthusiastic and not the brightest bulb in the lighthouse, Ray Peacock is a human Elmo, such is his innate likeability. Or, rather, an Elmo doll that now says rude things because of a mix-up at the factory. Whatever; you warm to his naivety, even when he’s misbehaving or showing off.

A newly slimline Ed Gamble, though younger, is like the older brother in the dynamic: joining in with Peacock’s high jinks, though aware that now and again they’re getting out of hand, and someone has to act all responsible and put a stop to things.

Their Knockabout playfulness seems so casual, almost spontaneous, but clearly quite a lot of work has  gone into this; the action is so fast that it packs in the ideas, and proper jokes and well-practised physical business, are slipped in under the bluster.  Though when Ray tries to actually tell a joke, of course he screws it up.

There’s also something for the ladies for their very tongue-in-cheek Humour For Women section, since females need their own special-ability comedy.

To properly appreciate this full-on daft hour, always make sure you take someone special with you: your inner child.

Review date: 10 Aug 2012
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Pleasance Dome

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