Strong & Wrong at the 2010 Brighton Fringe

Note: This review is from 2010

Review by Steve Bennett

Slightly misleading name, this, as Strong And Wrong aren’t particularly ‘wrong’, at least by comedy’s warped morality, nor are they a consistently strong act, though they certainly have their moments.

In fact, I’m not sure they quite know what the are themselves, yet. They are impressive and engaging performers, that’s clear, but they have no defining style of their own; their only angle being that they haven’t quite got one: sometimes they are musical comedians, sometimes a sketch duo.

The music plays the minor role, even though they have plenty of talent in that direction, as evidenced by their funky theme tune, or their morbid mini-mock rock opera Dr Dolittle Of Death. The lyric’s mightn’t be all that funny, but the songs stack up musically and Anna-Maria Nabirye has a powerful and impressive voice.

She can act, too, and sometimes to very good effect, as she has the confidence not to fear looking a fool. Bawling her eyes out like a petulant toddler or overselling her pretentious poetry, the performance is attention-grabbing. Her co-star Dan Carter-Hope is usually more restrained, though he sometimes gets the chance to break his sinister, brooding presence to affect a maniacal stare and scream like a loon with the best of them.

Sketches are uneven. Their quickies tend to be the best, and their mariachi who can convert any hit record into a semi-coherent Mexican number is a delight, though why he needs to be a robot is less convincingly explained. Some other skits are similarly a little jumbled, for example the entertainingly childish exchanging of ‘Your mum’s so fat/stupid/loose’ gags gets mixed up with an unnecessary time-travel idea, or the good idea of there being an actual 'race card' to employ wasted on off-the-wall situations where it wouldn't be relevant.

Other pitfalls include the irritating post-Fast Show trait of recurring characters effectively doing variants of the same scene, to diminishing returns, and the application of what we should call Lenny’s Law: that the more exaggerated the comedy African accent you need to employ, the less funny the underlying joke.

But although this duo fall into the sketch comedy cliché of being ‘a bit hit and miss’, their charm and their delivery ensure an entertaining hour with a handful of decent chuckles.

Review date: 3 May 2010
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Brighton The Temple

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