Brian Damage And Krysstal Go Pear Shaped At Midnig

Note: This review is from 2004

Review by Steve Bennett

Brian Damage seems to have been around as long as Arthur Smith's jokes and, like them, he only gets better with age. From that statement, you can see that this review is very much a matter of personal taste. Lovers of bland, homogenised comedy are advised to read no further.

This legendary Fringe show starts with an hour of Brian Damage's double act with top straight-woman Kyrsstal (Vicky de Lacy), followed by an alleged hour of highly individual comedy cabaret acts. The second hour lasted 105 minutes and included the likes of The Comedy Terrorist, Peter Buckley-Hill and Andrew O'Neill plus four other five-minute acts and nine other two-minute acts. Dull it ain't and it was loudly enjoyed by a full audience, almost entirely other comedians.

Brian Damage and Krysstal (for half of the show she appears not as strangely straight Krysstal but as Thirties BBC-style character Madge) are a one-off cross-genre act but they have echoes of The Bonzos, the heyday of music hall and some rather seedy country and western club in the West Midlands where people called Kevin wear stetsons and call themselves Deke.

The duo can simultaneously be professional and shambolic in the best possible way. Tonight, they were also intermittently performing a scripted Reithian radio show with ad-libs, their ancient yet still funny comic C&W songs, end-of-the-pier British filth and bad puns welcomed like old friends: "With all the stuff we're doing about shite, we should be up for the Derriere Award"

While BBC producers are scouring the trendy Pleasance venues for bright young Oxbridge things to write fifth-rate shows for Radio 4, all the time, there sits under their noses ­ or, at the bottom of the Pleasance hill ­ a ready-made first-rate radio show being performed in the rather sweaty back room of the Holyrood Tavern.

Almost five years ago, Chortle called the Pear Shaped cabaret show "a unique comic experience that you really have to sample at least once". The advice has not changed. It is rare to find the true anarchic spirit of the Fringe and early alternative comedy still thriving. But it is alive and well here. The Brian Damage and Pear Shaped double-bill show gets a very personal four stars.

Lovers of slick, smooth comedy should stay well away. But I laughed like a drain.

Review date: 1 Jan 2004
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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