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Two Episodes of Mash - Fringe 2009

Note: This review is from 2009

Review by Nione Meakin

The formula of this show is that of taking a slightly surreal premise and then revealing it to be surprisingly ordinary and mundane, and Joe Wilkinson and Diane Morgan, a deliciously deadpan pair, have the imaginations to make the most of it.

Two people constantly trying to balance fanciful thoughts with cynical mindsets, they paint a world where a crash test dummy comes home to her husband in tears after driving the car ‘straight into a wall’, a bored lobster has a nasty awakening and the reason why Buzz Aldrin wasn't the first man on the moon turns out to be laughably prosaic .

The pair's barely-bothered stance proves a good counter to the surreal antics on stage: handled over-enthusiastically this could easily become twee or farcical. But again, they lean a little too heavily on the technique.

Rare are the occasions when Wilkinson deviates from playing the deadbeat fall guy and Morgan isn't the smart character. It's easy to see why they are so fond of the casting, however. Wilkinson has the comically monotonous voice of Danny, the 'Camberwell carrot' drug dealer in Withnail & I, and Morgan is as dry as the desert.

The skits are nicely punctuated with spoof adverts for aptly pointless products like glow-in-the-dark Roof tiles and glove strings, as well as a series of answerphone messages left by a breezy woman stuck down a well and someone who has once again spotted the recipient's cat on their balcony.

In their enforced brevity, these parts seem to condense the pair's humour down to its purest form - odd, abstract and frequently hilarious.

Review date: 22 Aug 2009
Reviewed by: Nione Meakin

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