Zach & Viggo | Edinburgh Fringe comedy review by Steve Bennett
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Zach & Viggo

Note: This review is from 2017

Edinburgh Fringe comedy review by Steve Bennett

Last year, the debutant Norwegian-American double act of Zach Zucker and Viggo Venn impressed with their high-energy, tightly choreographed shenanigans. Their follow-up has lost none of the dynamism, but a lot of the tautness. 

Both are also making their solo debuts this Fringe, and this seems like a show in which they can just muck about afterwards. The Gaulier-trained clowns are too silly and lively not to entertain, but on this performance, they entertained themselves first, the audience an afterthought.

They serve up a deliberately bad Brexit joke, pick easy targets such as trigger-happy Americans and pretentious acting, indulge in routines that are too long and wilfully unfunny. The pair even manage to prove that yes, you can have too many dick/cucumber jokes in one hour.

It’s testament to their talents that such a catalogue of shortcomings isn’t the kiss of death. For they also have some great set pieces when they focus, and a playfulness in their performance that’s infectious. 

A recurring technique is to having a pumping rap soundtrack to get the juices flowing, which stops every few seconds for a quick joke – vitalising and funny at the same time.

 Early doors, there’s a daft running gag about the ‘spit take’ reaction of slapstick yore that makes the front row a splash zone; while a scene in which they voice each others’ stand-up demonstrates an inventiveness. Ditto the sketch about the phrase ‘Scrub daddy, scrub daddy go.’ Nonsense, but aurally pleasing nonsense.

The pair have a fantastic dynamic. They’re dressed in Lycra with Z and V on their chests like superheroes… or more accurately like kids in superhero outfits, for they have a childish way of bickering and play-fighting. They try to catch each other out, which adds a spontaneity, even if tonight they succeeded a bit too often in tripping each other up.

The semi-improvised nature of the show is likely to lead to different outcomes each night – and the fact Zach felt compelled to offer an on-stage apology at the end of this one suggests it wasn't their finest hour. But even so, there’s plenty to appreciate, too, not least the zest and glee they put into their performances.

Review date: 17 Aug 2017
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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