The Stevenson Experience: Identical As Anything | Edinburgh Fringe comedy review by Paul Fleckney
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The Stevenson Experience: Identical As Anything

Edinburgh Fringe comedy review by Paul Fleckney

Every year, I find one show where everyone around me is howling with laughter, and I get absolutely nothing. This year, it’s The Stevenson Experience, an experience I’m not in a hurry to repeat. 

The two Stevensons are Beej and Jimmy, and they’re identical Twins – something they refer to a lot, even though they look quite different from each other. But don’t think about that, this is no place for thought. 

For most of the show they roast and undermine each other, forever bringing up the fact that Jimmy was the oldest by a matter of seconds. They point-score in the most literal sense, chalking up points on a board whenever one of them gets a laugh or someone shouts the word ‘point’.

Their songs and banter are performed at an unrelenting pace, with Jimmy unable to resist doing musical theatre lunges during each song and breaking out into raps. They undeniably put on a show, performing it big and throwing themselves into it. But it felt more like the illusion of entertainment, where everything is done loudly and quickly with no discernible comedy talent underneath it. 

The banter amounts to some lame observations about taking laptops through airport security, microwaving tea and people taking no notice of car alarms. A running joke about their family having fun with online bank transfers isn’t funny the first time and doesn’t need to be brought back for a limp pay-off.

One line that takes aim at smug socially conscious people goes along the lines of: ‘I don’t do Bikram yoga, I do global warming yoga’. That’s about the moronic level of writing we’re talking about – jokes that can seem like jokes but don’t actually make any sense. 

There are some deserving targets such as shameless virtue-signallers and Instagram show-offs, but it’s a shame the Twins’ attacks amount to playground pointing.

Business Time by Flight Of The Conchords continues to be the most-copied song in musical comedy, and the Stevensons’ own sexy song, called Steps to Sex, is as shameless a rip-off as it gets. The lyrics tread the laziest ground around, rehashing hack ideas about not being able to find the clitoris and sex being over too quickly. 

They try something a little different with their romantic song, for which Jimmy mucks around with the backing vocals, mixing up the word order of the lyrics, turning them from sweet to filthy. For the first time, a spark of genuine invention, but still nothing funny materialised. 

Some running themes come to a head at the end – about a big Sydney Opera House show that Beej still trades off, and some sibling rivalry about a girl, giving a hint of comic drama.

The audience continued to lap it up, I felt like a grump. But it really was a load of rubbish.

Review date: 12 Aug 2017
Reviewed by: Paul Fleckney

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