Tea And Cake II: In The Gateau

Note: This review is from 2008

Review by Steve Bennett

Tea and Cake return for their second Fringe, with extra players and extra padding. Tiernan Douieb and Lauren Shearing are joined by Mat Wandless and Sam Bern to present a sometimes sweet, sometimes sickly range of sketches.

Some clever writing is apparent, with well-executed short sketches and some nice characters and running themes. But a number of scenes are plagued by overwriting, padding and overacting.

Douieb and Shearing seem confident and comfortable in their roles, with Shearing’s skill for accents and physical comedy saving some of the weaker sketches... but a few were beyond help. The opening scene of a posh couple saying their goodbyes before the war with barely concealed hatred for each other has been done before, and done better. Not only is the idea tired but the protracted dialogue lacked the jokes to keep the momentum. This sketch, like so much of the show, needs some editing.

A clumsily written piece where a son overhears his mother’s sex chat due to her inability to put a call on hold is so obviously lacking in originality or jokes that even the normally sparky Douieb seemed to struggle to muster any enthusiasm in his delivery.

The most effective and amusing scenes are those that are kept short, such as a very clever and funny parody of a Lynx advert delivered with such snappy silliness that it takes a second for the laughter to catch up with the gag.

The Fringe-aware sketch pleading ‘Let’s Keep Crap Mime To A Minimum’ was an entertaining premise which was repeated throughout the hour, yet seemed to be a get-out clause for some sketches that felt like they were struggling to reach a natural end.

Unfortunately the other topics that reappeared during the show were contrived and unnecessary and very much felt like the result of a lack of ideas rather than a good idea worthy of repeating.

What could have been the crowning moment of the show should have been the bloopers section at the end, but alas this final section followed the trend of the show and although some of the snippets were very well done, the lack of realism or subtlety was lost amid some woeful overacting and overwriting.

Reviewed by: Corry Shaw

Review date: 1 Jan 2008
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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