Songs My Granny Frowned At

Note: This review is from 2006

Review by Steve Bennett


This duo wrote the extraordinary 2004 Fringe musical The Translucent
Frogs of Quup, which I have to admit I gave a rather miserly three stars to.

Literate, lyrical, wistful, whimsical and sophisticated, Larner &
Stevens are still coming up with breathtakingly good songs, in this case bundled together fairly randomly and only faintly linked by references to Larner's unseen, dead grandmother, whose non-existence delivers an unexpected twist at the end of the show.

How can you not like Larner (singing) and Stevens (on keyboards) - people who start off with a song about a fish that took a walk in the woods but who, in a last minute lyrical twist - tragically had it innards torn apart by a badger.

They include a couple of Quup songs but have even more dazzling ones
to add with starting points like: 'Trees don't go to pubs and shops...', 'You gotta get a pension plan...' and 'We're home loving / We love to shove a quiche / Into a fan-assisted oven...'

Casually dressed in jeans and rumpled shirts, the duo live up to the title of one of their songs, Me and Mark, We're Real People, but such is the sophistication of their songs, both lyrical and musical, that they perhaps need to dress up in some way. I normally hate formality, but they are so Seventies casual that it feels a bit like a rehearsal.

With just a tiny addition of stage persona and characterisation - I'm ashamed to say I'm suggesting old-fashioned suits and even ties - they would make more of an impact because it would be a better presented show.

They are also unlucky in their choice of venues - they were in the tucked-away Diverse last time and this time the rarely smoothly-run C Venue: the show was 20 minutes late starting due to sound desk problems, there was no-one on the doors so audience members wandered in and out not knowing if the show had started or not even once they had found the badly-signposted room.

Next year, Larner & Stevens should try the Free Fringe: just as professional and often just as efficient.

John Fleming


Review date: 1 Jan 2006
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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