The Raymond & Mr Timpins Revue: Ham | Edinburgh Fringe review by Paul Fleckney
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The Raymond & Mr Timpins Revue: Ham

Edinburgh Fringe review by Paul Fleckney

It’s amazing what a difference context makes. Many’s the time I’ve seen The Raymond and Mr Timpkins Revue headline in a comedy club, the crowd lubricated and having a good time, and the pair bringing the ruddy house down with their pop music-based pun lunacy. 

Stick them in an Edinburgh Fringe room in front of 40 sober people who haven’t just had 20 minutes of Jeff Innocent to warm them up, and there’s a distinct air of bafflement.

It feels slightly wrong to describe in black and white something so innocent and joyful, but for the uninitiated, here goes: two men take the pop hits of today and yesteryear and turn their lyrics into jokes. They don’t say anything, they just hold up words like ‘love’ or ‘it’, or even single letters, and create puns or visual gags from the musical montage playing on the public address system. 

It’s silly, silly, silly, and closer to vaudeville than traditional stand-up – think Chuckle Brothers meets the Radio 1 Roadshow (RIP Barry).

The club set they’ve been doing for the best part of 20 years gets split between the start and the end of Ham, and it is a thing of brilliance. The amount of jokes they pack into these montages, the time and thought (and editing) that must have gone into them, with the whole thing hinging on one false move or one missing sign … it’s quite something. 

The trouble is that this is a 50-minute show – there’s no rule to say you have to have a narrative, but not even the biggest Raymond and Mr Timpkins fan I think could watch that for the full stretch. 

So off we go into a story about how the pair (real names Andy Heydon and Tony Salmon) fall out over an audition for a reality TV show, split up and try to find new work independently of each other, only to (spoiler alert) reunite and pick up where they left off, happy again in their ridiculous world.

It is this middle section where Ham runs into difficulties. Shorn of their format of song providing setup and sign providing punchline, they need a way to find the funnies, and they’re not going to resort to speaking – that’s not the Raymond and Mr Timpkins way. So the gags come from silly sound effects (like Raymond shooting a cat when he’s a fireman, or fart noises) and visual jokes that are weaker than in their classic set. A few of the regulation R&T jokes are slipped in, but in isolation, they seem stranded compared to when there’s a relentless stream of them.

Some in the audience absolutely loved this show, and if a bit of cheesy goofiness is your thing then you need to see Raymond and Mr Timpkins at some point in your life. Their long-awaited Edinburgh debut is only a partial success though.

Review date: 11 Aug 2018
Reviewed by: Paul Fleckney
Reviewed at: Pleasance Courtyard

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