Watson In The Super Secret Awesome Show

Note: This review is from 2012

Review by Steve Bennett

Double-act Watson used to be a trio called The Hounds, but in this festival offering they seem determined to generate more than enough noise, activity and energy to compensate for their missing member.

Their Super Secret Awesome Show is a vibrant, fast-paced jaunt into the world of conspiracy, cover-ups and Wikileaks that bristles with ideas. Even if not all of them come off, there’s so much going on you’re never going to be bored.

Teagan Higginbottom and Adam McKenzie are charismatic performers with a sharp line in comic backchat. The premise is that we’ve been assembled in this bunker-like venue to hear a disclosure of a devastating state secret, contained in Australia’s official Gossip Girl-style diary, that Asio’s finest are determined to keep hushed up. It’s the X-Files performed by comics with the X factor.

It’s an especially good device building a conspiratorial spirit to bind the audience as we are led through advice on how to keep secrets, and some of the truths They don’t want you to know.

They’ve also made the show look great on a budget, complete with its wall of paranoia-inspired newspaper cuttings and on-screen graphics. But although the experience often becomes immersive, Watson keep breaking the spell with knowing in-jokes, loose improv and wilful demolition of the fourth- wall. It’s all very self-aware, which makes it fun, but at the expense of being truly compelling.

A knockabout, slapstick spirit pervades all they do, right down to whacking each other with branches, although they haven’t quite cracked the formula yet. Sometimes all the noise and activity seems a substitute for material, and sometimes it enhances it.

However the pace is such that weak moments are soon past, and there are some inspired flourishes in the mix – most notably the uniquely off-the-wall ending.

Reviewed at the Melbourne Comedy Festival, April 2011

Review date: 9 Jan 2012
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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