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Mick Miller & Jimmy Cricket: Fringe 2012

Note: This review is from 2012

Review by Steve Bennett

The Fringe may be the domain of the bright young things, but a place where anyone can do anything they like can certainly accommodate a couple of elder statesmen of comedy. And with a combined age of 128, Jimmy Cricket and Mick Miller can still teach their successors at the coalface a thing or two.

Cricket is the adorable impish fool; Miller the relentless gag machine never more than two beats away from the next punchline. Certain things they do might be unfashionable, but a surprising amount isn’t.

Cricket has his stories set in doctor’s waiting rooms, jokes older than Edinburgh Castle and more corn than the Jolly Green Giant. Some of the more weather-beaten gags have achieved such status that they have gone beyond the uninterestingly familiar and into the territory of old friends, greeted warmly by the fans.

What might be more unexpected is the presence of fresher gags – if you can count references to Oasis or Facebook as entirely new – but they do have an element of surprise And there’s even a Tom Daley gag – though like so many, it’s just a silly pun, rather than specifically about the diving champion. His tongue-in-cheek jokes that he has to ‘keep the act fresh’, tacitly acknowledge that.

With Cricket the dopey, childlike personality, emphasised by that floppy cap, is all. His eyes light up as he engages in a little bit of physical nonsense – such as his hilarious ‘sexy dances’ or delves into his trunk of props to don novelty headgear to set the scene for the next gag. Within the case also lurks his ventriloquist doll, ready for more silliness. The material’s not always the greatest, but the way he sells it is disarming charm personified.

Mick Miller has no such stylised persona. He’s just a no-nonsense pro here to deliver as many punchlines as he can, as quickly as he can. And it’s not tired old pub gags either, his act largely still seems relevant and sharp… though the unfortunate gag about the Japanese satnav instructing him to ‘turn light’ belongs in pre-stanav era.

That’s a very rare blip: more of his efficient gags than you think have payoffs you don’t expect, hitting home with a blunt change of direction or perfectly realised image. Although some of the subjects could be considered a bit hackneyed – such as having his tweezers confiscated before boarding a plane – the forceful pace sees him right.

Then there is his piece de resistance: the sketch in which a dipsomaniac radio announcer uses a Noddy story to cover the number of gins he’s knocking back, getting increasingly pissed as the children’s tale plays out. It’s a masterful example of comic acting, and rightly rose the Roof of Pleasance AceDome. Quality like this never goes out of fashion.

Review date: 19 Aug 2012
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Pleasance Dome

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