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Tommy And The Weeks: Wonderbang - Fringe 2009

Note: This review is from 2009

Review by Nione Meakin

Don’t be disheartened by the start of this show, which hints at predictably 'unpredictable' student japery – what follows is far better than that.

Tommy is Tom Bell, a scruffy, wan fellow who looks in urgent need of a square meal, while his co-star Ed Weeks is a slick, besuited ladykiller.

They mock each other mercilessly – like brothers but with a more imaginative line in insults. Bell, Weeks says, looks like 'a Dickens reject'. Weeks, Bell counters, resembles 'a Tory with mumps'. Their relationship is about the only thing in this dizzingly inventive show that seems to follow any sort of established template.

With echoes of the ever-pervasive Mighty Boosh (thankfully, faint enough not to be too irritating), the pair gleefully crack open a Pandora's box of surrealistic creations that play mischievously with expectations. The nuances of flirtation are neatly observed in a sketch about two dog owners, which progresses in a fairly logical way but finishes somewhere north of WTF? while the concept and development of a laughter track as some sort of flying insect is just inspired. This is a landscape where the sublime and the ridiculous don't just meet, they fall in love and have babies.

The pair have an excellent feel for balance that's crucial in preventing surreal comedy from becoming a big pile of in-joke gibberish. For every far-fetched, Peter Cook flight of fancy, there's a Dudley Moore guffaw to gently bring things back down to earth. They are also frighteningly tight. Even when dictating crop rotations like they're verbal Viagra or floating the idea of a Metric Conversion Goat, this is pissing about mapped with military precision and trimmed of hollow self-indulgence.

As brilliant as a fish on a bicycle and even more preposterous.

Review date: 24 Aug 2009
Reviewed by: Nione Meakin

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