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Roaring Boys Will Set You Free

Note: This review is from 2010

Review by Jason Stone

Every unsuccessful double act on the Fringe should be forced to see The Roaring Boys to see how it's supposed to be done. Unless this peculiar audience was completely consumed with jealousy, they would have to acknowledge the unrelenting joy that this duo deliver.

The Roaring Boys’ MacGuffin is a desire to bring The One Show to its knees. They believe the BBC programme is a beacon of mundaneness – and are determined to do something about it.

Jonathan Donahoe and Daniel Benoliel have perfected the art of slipping in and out of their story, making their show eceptively complicated. Alongside their description of the steps they took to stop The One Show, there's a sub-plot about Donahoe's love life which periodically interrupts the main narrative. It provides an excuse for himto unleash an insanely bitter love song and 'mistake' a member of the audience for a mysterious figure called Robert who played a significant role in his heartbreak. Far from being a distraction, this comedic tributary gives the show a multi-layered dimension which makes it all the more rewarding.

Donahoe and Benoliel have only the flimsiest of reasons to borrow props from the audience, as they know exactly what they need and could easily provide them themselves – but how much more fun is it to pose the question: ‘Has anyone here got a gun?’ The ensuing banter was brilliantly funny and the audience were literally throwing items at the duo in response to the requests. These including a baseball cap which, when worn by the generously proportioned Donahoe, prompted a comparison to Michael Moore. This insult created mayhem as the pair corpsed so much that they almost lost the plot. The audience were similarly helpless with laughter at the spectacle. It was a joyful moment.

Benoliel's impersonation of an illicit gun dealer gives the show a surreal twist as he makes the Hispanic character cheerfully camp, with a distinctive voice that allows him to bring the creation back on to the stage without the need for a fussy costume change.

As the show approaches its climax, the duo’s journey to The One Show's studio is depicted through a combination of mime and sound effects. The sheer ludicrousness of this is hilarious and it moves along so briskly that audience never gets ahead of the next joke. Another excellent piece of physical comedy is sufficiently dangerous for Benoliel to claim that he's ‘the fourth Danny they've had’.

There is so much to enjoy in this brilliant show. It's inconceivable that anyone could fail to be entertained throughout.

Review date: 18 Aug 2010
Reviewed by: Jason Stone

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