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Man 1, Bank 0 [Edinburgh 2012]
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Musical Comedy Awards 2012 Showcase
Show type: Edinburgh Fringe 2012
There is space on the bed. Let's cozy up, cut the small talk and discuss our Man Feelings.
We all have them, so join us as we remove the safety net of our inhibitions and discuss what it truly means to be a man, and to have feelings.
In this brand new 60km per hour sketch show, we'll drag you kicking and screaming through every possible emotion you sought to bury after that one VERY bad evening, as we confuse, dazzle and excite (mostly confuse), whilst fusing a fresh blend of unique characters with ridiculous scenarios and some startlingly candid expressions of male naivety.
The journey is just as much for our cantankerous couple as it shall be for the audience.
So come... Feel like a man with us.
Written and Performed by James Cottle and Kevin Kennedy.
Man Feelings: Fringe 2012
You can imagine the conversation James Cottle had with Kevin Kennedy before they embarked on their Edinburgh adventure. It probably involved phrases like 'how difficult can it be?' and 'we'll never know unless we try'.
It's especially easy to picture this spirited approach after reading their own description of debuting at the Fringe in an interview they gave to the The Edinburgh Reporter: It's akin to jumping in ‘head first at the deep end of the Pacific Ocean with nought but some rope and a whistle’.
A small but gallantly generous audience brimming with their own high hopes surely expected more from a comedy show than costume changes and a willingness to simulate sexual acts. Whole sketches floated past without raising so much as a titter. You need more than a rope and a whistle if you want to tread water in the treacherous waters of the Fringe.
The duo opened with a sketch which had Kennedy dressed as a bee who has a dark history with Cottle's character. It was a reasonably good premise with a pleasingly absurd dimension but it was one of several sketches which failed to deliver on their promise. This was largely because the writing isn't strong enough, as these two are yet to learn that successful sketches need an ending as well as a beginning.
Their worst decision was to invest heavily in the sketch with the weakest premise – with them as members of a long-defunct band on the comeback trail. In this recurring skit, Cottle's character is obsessed with the idea that they will have to ‘suck cocks’ for their reunion to be a success with the supposed comic twist being this was a prospect he approaches with quiet enthusiasm. As well as being unfunny, this scenario was stained by homophobia as Kennedy expressed increasingly fervent disgust for Cottle's appetites.
The strongest sketch demonstrated that Cottle and Kennedy are not a lost cause. It had the two of them representing England and Scotland as a married couple with the latter pressing for separation. Ultimately it floundered because the excellent premise wasn't backed by the writing – again – but it showed promise.
The only sketch with a decent punchline involved teaching a recent divorcé how to chat up women. For once the writing was solid but the performances had the frenetic quality of secondary school drama students trying out improvisation for the first time, and the well-constructed payoff lost impact.
|Date of live review: Friday 3rd Aug, '12|
Review by Jason Stone
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