The Dinks 2: Mouthbreathin'
Show type: Edinburgh Fringe 2004
For the love of humanity. The Dinks are back. Phenomonal... news. Great. Oh boy, that's the stuff. Here they come. Outstanding. What?... Oh, I'm not eating. Can't wait!
The first ten minutes of the Dinks' second Edinburgh outing offers some quirky, inventive and playful lines. Which is why it's such a shame it deteriorates so rapidly into an uneven, self-indulgent vanity project.
Dan Antopolski, Craig Campbell and Tony Law may be aiming to be deliberately unconventional, but what they are essentially producing an updated version of a post-war radio show full of larger-than-life characters, groanworthy but elegantly constructed puns and a song or two.
But as well as those elements, Mouthbreathin' also suffers from smugness, sloppy writing and lazy performances that all conspire to drag proceedings down.
Individually, some moments are very funny indeed. That tortured wordplay always works well, the set-up that establishes the fourth-wall theatricality of the piece is nicely subversive, and Dan's two superhero gags are very good indeed.
But when you give a character the surname Shit, or randomly leap into Bollywood dancing, or resort to running spoof advertisements for an anal cream, there's desperation afoot.
There's a plot that supposedly holds this thing together, though it's frequently discarded. The three Dinks put Tony up as candidate for Alderman of the Canadian mountain backwater where they supposedly live in an attempt to free their crushing poverty; but a dark secret could ruin his prospects at the ballot box. And that's it. No wonder there are so many blind-alley diversions to bulk out something so slight.
The shame is that all three comics are strong circuit stand-ups in their own right, and expectations are naturally high when they put their heads together. But they seem to encourage each others' indulgences, rather than combine the best of what they are capable of.
Their enthusiasm and cheek carries some of the weaker material, but this noticeably wanes about halfway through, and the momentum quickly dissipates.
It'd be a waste to write the Dinks project off just yet, as the idea does have plenty of potential, but it needs a level of work, commitment and professionalism from the trio that isn't evident on this outing.