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The Incident

Note: This review is from 2010

Review by Steve Bennett

Tired of comic plays with some sort of meaningful structure? Then The Incident – a sort of Waiting For Godot with ADD – might be for you; although its unhinged, scattergun approach is decidedly hit and mix.

Australian comics Sam Simmons and David Quirk, both long-term occupants of the subs’ bench marked ‘promising’ yet to make the big leagues, star as the customer and assistant in an unspecified store. After shop worker Quirk makes a forcefully bold sexual advance, Simmons demands to see the manager; but they have lots of time to kill before he arrives. As they wait, they start to bond, with the disjointed scenes reflecting aspect of how male relationships are formed: winding each other up, getting enthusiastic about trivial pursuits, quoting movie dialogue or engaging in boisterous horse-play. The ‘incident’ is frequently forgotten in their shared bromantic moments, only for it to be suddenly remembered when the distractions end; and we’re back to the awkward, stilted atmosphere.

They leap quickly from scene to absurd scene, disorientating the audience. It’s sometimes a struggle to find their irregular wavelength, but if you can get on it, there are some joyous moments of offbeat comedy. The scene that did it for me had Quirk utterly baffled by the ‘incoming text’ sound of his friend’s phone… but in other moments I sat stony-faced as other members of the admittedly small audience roared.

It’s that kind of show; some sketches – for that is what they really are – will hit the spot, others leave you bewildered and confused, but in a benevolent way. Similarly, the performances are sometimes spot-on, sometimes too shouty and over-emphatic as they drive home the eccentric jokes with a comedic sledgehammer.

The Incident is perfectly in tune with the spirit of collaborative experiment that defines the Fringe at its best, so while it’s uneven and a little too odd, it does sometimes reward the audience handsomely for being bold enough to go off piste.

Review date: 14 Aug 2010
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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