Robin And Partridge: Robin Dies At The End | Review by Steve Bennett
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Robin And Partridge: Robin Dies At The End

Review by Steve Bennett

Robin Clyfan and Charlie Partridge are greeted on stage with the sort of whoops that you’d expect if One Direction themselves had decided to have a bash at comedy.

Good-looking, confident and energetic with their playful material, it’s easy to understand their appeal to a twentysomething post-student audience. They hammer home catchphrases, sell cheesy jokes with the same conviction as Abe Lincoln reading the Gettysburg Address, and gurn and banter at a pitch somewhere between vintage Vic and Bob and even-more-vintage Ade and Rik, god rest his soul.

Lots of other cult influences are detectable, too, from the faux-seriousness of The Day Today to the non-rhyming epigrammic poetry of Tim Key. Robin and Partridge deliver the amalgam with real gusto –  yet don’t consistently make a style of their own. Some of the gags themselves are ancient, too, from the translation of a massive chunk of foreign gobbledegook as the single word ‘yes’ to explaining why Donald Duck’s a pervert.

Their defining sketch is probably their first, when they portray pious vegetarians at a dinner-party, rolling such beautifully sonorous words like Schloer around their plumy mouths, repeatedly, cheekily and with amusingly exaggerated grimaces.

Truth-bomb-dropping poetry collective Justice Radiator have a tongue-in-cheek allure too; though like so many sketch shows they bring them back for a second helping, when one course would have been more satisfying. In fact, running out of steam is a frequent concern, once the undeniably strong performance wears thin. The whole ‘Robin dies at the end’ story feels particularly exposed, since it becomes a recurring storyline that was never that strong in the first place.

Nevertheless, the pair boast a great ability to sell both the sharpest quips and the cheesiest one-liners as if they were priceless comedy First Folios. Yet they struggle with the variety of pace needed to sustain an hour. Despite containing probably the best gag of the show, their ‘morning after’ scene, especially, flails, bogged down in cliche and a necessary awkwardness that subdues the main thing this pair had going for them, their enthusiasm.

Still, with party poppers, a thumping rock soundtrack and spirited, barely-controlled, dancing, they end the show on the high you’d expect; it’s just that there’s plenty of ups and downs on the way, in quality as well as energy.

Review date: 31 Jul 2014
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Pleasance Courtyard

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