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The Chris and Paul Show: Fringe 2012

Note: This review is from 2012

Review by Marissa Burgess

Last year’s best newcomer nominees Chris and Paul have that difficult second album syndrome and the result suggests they might have been better taking a year out.

Not that this is a bad show – it's an enjoyable hour with some really nice moments, but doesn’t stand up to the scrutiny they are getting given the buzz last year.

New Yorkers Chris O'Neill and Paul Valenti are an almost silent duo, relying heavily on physicality to get their point across – although they do dip into dialogue in some skits, as well as often plucking an audience member out to help them complete a scene.

But both the format and the script need tightening. There are moments of blank space on stage as they change costume and many of the skits are over-long with the punchline not funny enough to warrant the lingering build-up.

The room works against it too. Sections of some of the scenes are partially lost when they are too low down on the stage, a few people felt the need to stand up to see what was going on. Working without mics renders some of the spoken parts too quiet and so lacking in  energy. The hum of the air con doesn't help either, particularly if you're sitting towards the back of the room.  

However, in the main, the duo's performances are great to watch, there are subtleties even in their routines about big kids annoying each other. O'Neill miming an inflatable man being blown up and then springing a leak is perfectly executed. But it was in last year’s show.

They're at their best though when pushing into absurd territory, the personification of an over enthusiastic fire and Valenti's near dance routine seduction by a giant cookie are two highlights.

These guys have great skill and a pretty unique act, they just need a bit more direction.

Review date: 27 Aug 2012
Reviewed by: Marissa Burgess
Reviewed at: Just The Tonic at The Caves

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