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Cardinal Burns - Fringe 2009

Note: This review is from 2009

Review by Steve Bennett

Cardinal Burns is a fun little sketch show, with imaginatively daft ideas performed with panache by two-thirds of the acclaimed Fat Tongue team.

Their inspired sketches may start with po-faced poise, but the charming duo of Seb Cardinal and Dustin Demri-Burns endear themselves to the audience by letting their masks slip just a little as they stifle the urge to corpse.

Almost every scene boasts an inventive set-up, which is then executed with delightful ly subtle touches to keep the core idea from running out of steam. A Parkinson-style chat show, for instance, in which the guest is just an average wage slave, is a smart thought with the laughs teased out with every over-deferential question.

The elegantly silly skit set in a particularly ill-stocked French store is Python’s Cheese Shop sketch for modern times, more strange and awkward than the original; a tearfully sensitive exchange student struggling with enrolment is delicately funny; and the advertising director barking contradictory instructions at an actor trying his best to comply will strike a chord with all the performers at this festival.

Sketches are longer than you think – which they mostly make a virtue out of, though it does mean the few misfires, including the Kookyville scene set in isolated America and the enthusiastic but atypically one-gag opening sequence – can be a little sluggish. Conversely, the show is shorter than you might expect, at under 50 minutes, so it hasn’t the scope to drag.

Expect to hear more of Cardinal and Burns: a sketch double act so innately charismatic and offbeat they can even make the tired old device of switching a hit song’s lyrics feel imaginative.

Review date: 13 Aug 2009
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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