The Dinks

Note: This review is from 2003

Review by Steve Bennett

Dan Antopolski is something of a cult festival favourite, a comic with a dedicated fan base (and possibly an even greater number of detractors) and a Perrier nomination to his name.

So it could be construed as something of a comedown for him to be here as part of a three-hander, sharing the limelight with the criminally underrated Craig Campbell and the quirkily inventive Tony Law.

But, in fact, it proves the perfect vehicle, the discipline of working with the two Canadians reigning in his self-indulgent tendencies, and the collaboration producing a more rounded comedy than any of them alone would have created.

The very loose premise of this is that Antopolski is a dry, cynical Englishman who fell to earth in America's Deep South following a plane crash. He shacked up with Campbell, a foaming at the mouth, Grizzly Adams-style madman, and the adventure-seeking Law, with whom he's lived happily... until the day an alien contingent lands down the road.

Initially, there's a very Groucho Marxist feel to the proceedings, as the fast-talking trio exchange silly and punny wisecracks. It occasionally veers towards the annoying - just like the original backchats - but there are some truly brilliant gags there.

But as the show progresses, the humour turns more slapstick and visual, too, taking a few musical detours en route. Stylistically, there's something for everyone, culminating in a marvellously silly alien dance.

Sometimes it loses its way, occasionally gags are forced beyond their breaking point, and there are practical problems too. Pleasance Above is not the best venue in which to be performing on low-lying deckchairs, as half the audience have a real strain to see, and a scene performed in almost total darkness drifts towards the baffling as it's near-impossible to figure out exactly what's going on.

But for every flaw there's at least two stunning jokes to compensate. When the show is weak, it's still adequate, and when it's good, it's very, very good. And who knows when you'll have the chance to see three acts who complement each other so perfectly working together again?

Review date: 1 Jan 2003
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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