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The Peacock And Gamble Emergency Broadcast

Note: This review is from 2011

Review by Steve Bennett

The premise of Ray Peacock and Ed Gamble’s show – loose as it is – is that this is the broadcast that comes on air when another show doesn’t go as planned. What’s not so clear is what happens when the Emergency Broadcast itself doesn’t go as planned.

It’s nothing to do with the show itself, but tonight the pair are clearly disappointed to have such a small audience – on the day a reviewer’s in as well – even though they try to hide it behind some knowing, self-mocking banter. This is an hour of bubbly high jinks that would really feed off an audience, which is tricky when there’s only 15 of them in a room. That’s the Fringe for you.

But crowd or no, this is a gloriously silly hour in the company of two overgrown toddlers, who are wilfully daft, stubborn and comically annoying in equal measure. Peacock, though older, is the more juvenile, seeing attention, reassurance and the occasional fraternal cuddle from marginally more grown-up Gamble. It’s the classic double-act dynamic of the dumb leading the dumber, with Gamble frequently having to remonstrate with his unruly, but never malicious, charge.

When the naïve Peacock gets an idea in his head, he’s reluctant to let it go, no matter what – so he ends up ramming the point home with hilariously misplaced enthusiasm, whether it’s barking out the Woody Woodpecker theme tune aggressively, showing off his brilliantly ill-thought-through Dragons’ Den inventions, or repeatedly getting classic jokes mangled.

Although his petulant behaviour could be maddening in the wrong hands, his vulnerability and Gamble’s voice-of-reason provides a balance ensures that the show’s not self-indulgent. Well, maybe the Ugly Duckling story goes on a bit, but that’s the exception – generally the tone of silliness and sweetness, so that even when Peacock shows us sketch drawings of his most depraved fantasies, they are charmingly chaste – mostly. Certainly this is a world apart from the often gloriously inappropriate humour of their successful podcast (which is hosted by Chortle, though there’s no financial links, lest you think this is a conflict-of-interest review).

The relationship between the pair is obviously natural, and they can saunter off-script if needs be to keep the show engagingly loose. Occasionally Gamble gets to be the stupid one, especially in his asinine Round The World In Eight Minutes video presentation, which might not be consistent with their personas, but crams a lot more stupid jokes into an already busy show, such as confusing the Italian national anthem with the theme from Super Mario Brothers.

The gags are the key, for although this is a show built around their exaggerated personalities, there are natty punchlines and big, silly images throughout; it’s not just coasting on its undeniable air of good humour. Fun stuff.

Review date: 13 Aug 2011
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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