Return Of The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre
Show type: Edinburgh Fringe 2008
Official Sellout 2007, the Socks return with more songs, sketches, socks & violence.
Review from Leicester Comedy Festival, February 2009
The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre is one of those ideas that can be stupidly entertaining over a three-minute internet clip, although you fear just how thin the joke is stretched during a 60-plus minute show.
It is exactly what it says on the label: two sock puppets who speak in high-pitched comedy Scottish accents rattle through puns, songs, puns, sketches, puns, vaudeville backchat, puns and puns.
Yet though the abandonment of all restraint and shame, the show can often be hilarious, thanks to the power of chutzpah alone.
Creator Kev F Sutherland has created a viral online marketing campaign for the wee chappies that’s as ferocious as ebola, releasing a new clip almost daily. It means a lot of material is generated for this full-length offering, so although the chuckle levels do flag at times, overall it’s a lot more entertaining than you would think.
Our nameless duo aim to be the Morecambe and Wise of the hosiery world, right down to the Play-What-I-Wrote dynamic of one sock attempting something weighty, which the other undermines with their impatient tomfoolery; although they do eventually cooperate for the potted version of Romeo & Juliet that closes the show.
Sometimes the banter is almost painfully bad: for example the sequence when sock B repeatedly – and increasingly tenuously – misunderstands the person sock A is talking about. It starts with ‘deforestation’ being confused with ‘DeForest Kelly’ and goes downhill (if you can acknowledge such a thing) from there. Yet by acknowledging the unlikeliness of the confusion, but ploughing on regardless, the painfulness of situation becomes funny.
Sutherland has, basically, hit on a formula that makes appalling jokes work. No flesh-and-blood comic would ever get away with the sort of forced material often on offer here. But say it in a silly voice, with a sock on your hand, and it transforms into something charming.
The low-tech constraints of it all provide laughs, too, as from behind the Punch-and-Judy style booth, Sutherland struggles gamely with costume changes for his google-eyed characters, or even loses his place in the script.
This show might not be high art, but it’s happy to celebrate its own sheer daftness – and with that sort of lively, knockabout attitude you can’t help but have silly fun.
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Leicester Comedy Festival, February 2009
Review from Edinburgh, August 2008
Ah, there’s something quintessentially festival about watching two grey socks with ping-pong-ball eyes swear at each other in high-pitched Scottish accents. That said, they don’t swear that much, it’s almost family entertainment. With the emphasis on ‘almost’.
Our hosts for the evening are, as you’ve no doubt already gathered, a pair of socks; ‘you put them on your foot not your cock,’ the naughtier one helpfully explains in their opening song. Like a hosiery version of Morecambe and Wise, the mischievous sock is intent on thwarting the other’s intentions to stage a serious performance to wow the TV talent scouts.
So a talk on deforestation by Ernie sock is sabotaged by Eric sock when he confuses an environmental issue with the man who used to play Bones in Star Trek (DeForest Kelley, in case you were wondering), while elsewhere Eric becomes belligerent during the staging of a Christmas special.
Though largely enjoyable, some pieces are over-long, such as that opening sequence, and the writing isn’t the tightest. However there are some nice self-effacing instants when minor things go wrong, such as props refusing to stay upright and tiny sock-puppet hands not reaching the keyboard in the musical numbers.
There some really lovely moments here too, such as their rendition of A Partridge In A Pear Tree in which bad sock complains about the proliferation of bird gifts but perks up a bit when gifted some illegal immigrant maids a-milking and ladies dancing. Plus a recreation of the mods and rockers clash on Brighton beach is amusingly daft.
Altogether, good footwear based fun.
Reviewed by: Marissa Burgess