Browse reviews

Edinburgh Fringe 2009

Ginger & Black: The Extraordinary Life and Times of Harold

Mick Perrin Just For Laughs Live

Venue: Pleasance Hut 


Low Down

Executed with remarkable polish and poise, this is an excellent show for any fan of smart, acerbic comedy. The two of them have developed a remarkable brand of clever humour that sneaks up on you and then beats you around the cerebellum. There isn’t really very much in the way of depth – more a series of loosely-connected sketches that hang together, but the sketches are of such quality that this hardly matters. The audience participation aspects of the show, too, are well-judged and well-executed. 


The show is a series of sketches loosely based around a story. Ginger and Black style themselves ‘musical storytellers, though the ‘musical’ aspect is fairly negligible – some of the sketches involve a keyboard, but by no means all. The show revolves instead around wordplay and clever dialogue, impeccably written and performed with an almost unreal level of po-faced deadpan.

Many of their punch lines didn’t even need direct delivery – the setup begins the train of thought that allows the joke to happen in the audiences heads. This is intelligent humour, the kind of joke that thrives on misdirection, leading you one way then saying one word, or even making a simple gesture, upon which the penny drops. Being such strong performers, they don’t need much in the way of support and devices. Some sketches involve props – a digital camera, a keyboard – but production values can afford to be low with a performance this strong.

The audience were evidently responsive to the material – laughs were many, and all at the right times. Perhaps it wasn’t uproarious enough laughter for me to truly plumb the depths of hyperbole, but it was evidently an enjoyable and genuinely funny show for everyone present: nothing fell flat. I was particularly impressed with the audience participation sketches, which were very slick indeed and well thought-through; but I was laughing pretty hard the whole way through.

All-in-all, this was a very simple review to write. Here we have a really solid show, slick, clever, original and funny, and fully worth seeing.