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Peacock & Gamble: Heart-throbs

Note: This review is from 2013

Review by Steve Bennett

This might be the Pleasance Broomcupboard, but Ray Peacock is playing up to the gallery as if it were the London Palladium.

In fact, he’s just playing up, full stop. For he has the mentality of a toddler: an incorrigible showoff, petulant about getting his own way and sulky when he doesn’t, and not yet in full grasp of how English grammar or emphasis works. It’s down to the parental influence of Gamble (in fact about 15 years Peacock’s junior) to keep him on the straight and narrow. It’s the classic double-act relationship, and comes with an ever-present sense of silliness, and unashamedly old-fashioned sensibilities.

This year’s premise is that Peacock has become big in Japan, a magazine cover star recognised wherever he goes, but returning to Edinburgh to give something back to the little people who made him. Spotting an opportunity, Gamble has signed a sponsorship deal with the good people at Yuki butter. All they must do is get through the show smoothly and fulfil their contractual obligation. Do you think they will, boys and girls?

In fact, the two prongs of that plot device becomes something of a millstone. Gamble’s role *is* diminished to a more straightforward feed-man to the centre-stage Peacock, even if they do joke about it; the sponsorship line gets a little predictable; and a couple of the tenuously related sketches – an online date especially – don’t really take off.

Yet they remain adorably charming, with Peacock exuding a puppyish likability, however unreasonably he is behaving. The hour gets off to a cracking start, thanks to his attempts to replicate the success of other comedians by cack-handedly mimicking their techniques, while some of the other set pieces delight with their shambolic playfulness. The odd game show Don’t Let The Dear Hear is a case in point, making the most of the duo’s easy relationship and quick-thinking audience skills, which are otherwise under-utilised.

Their sense of fun ensures a good time is had by all, but they also get a bit too comfortable with a format that needs more turmoil.

Review date: 12 Aug 2013
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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