Edinburgh Fringe 2012
Frimston and Rowett: Huge Mistakes
Taken for Granted Productions
Just the Tonic at the Caves
"After a successful Fringe debut last year, Frimston and Rowett return to Edinburgh with their difficult second album,"
This is a sketch comedy show in which the sketches aren’t laded with expletives, nor are they rooted in harshness and cruel comedy. Why do I say that up front? Because that is what marks this show at as fairly different on the fringe. Why different? Because that is either a stupid or a bold thing to do in a comedy world that largely explores the edges and depths of good taste in order to get a laugh.
This duo unashamedly pay homage to a more traditional comedy curriculum whilst playing with modern themes.
This isn’t raucous comedy but it’s often highly pleasing and each sketch is based on a conceit that’s either homage to something done by comedians more famous, for example, the Mastermind sketch, or is a contemporary take on something, often with a witty and intelligent twist.
Here we have a Morecambe and Wise relationship and bathos plays a big part in most. There are sketches with punch lines and these raise laughs and applause rather then groans, though not all are as strong as each other.
The twosome work well together and have a rapport that comes with practice. These aren’t performers who play characters with a wide repertoire of accents and there aren’t large helpings of physical theatre. They do sketches largely as themselves and it’s the timing and the quality of the material that becomes key. The timing is well realised and the material is varied and never strays too far from accessible themes.
This is their charm and perhaps also their boldness – to be fairly traditional in their comedy fare with a decent amount of more contemporary spice. There’s clever word play and the comedy is teased out of misunderstandings and taking normal situations and giving them a comedy twist. It’s an unfussy production that follows a sturdy and well worn sketch comedy format with some repeating skits along side standalone scenes.
I think Frimston and Rowlett could take further risks with their chosen material and also their physicality. They are at their best in their verbal knockabout and that, thankfully, is fairly often. I think the U2 sketch and the psychology sketch hint at the way forwards and even further up – simple and sharp, and of course, funny. I’m looking for further emergence of the F and R unique flavour. There’s are hints but it is still to emerge properly.
There is a comedy theatre feel to many of the sketches and it’s all warmly funny rather than hilarious. It’s tightly staged and, as theatre it has a light touch, relying largely on vocal skills and the comedy in the material rather than on costume, props and stepping into strongly delineated characters. That gives a Hancock feel at times.
I found myself smiling a lot, chuckling at times and appreciating the flavour of this particular comedy meal. It’s light, but like light food, it will go down well. I like their comedy but what earns them four stars are the accomplished performances, the well crafted, witty and erudite sketch material and the boldness and skill to plough the middle furrow, not in a mediocre way but in a way that finds humour, not in cruelty but in different aspects of the human condition, especially in language and life itself. It’s a highly recommended show because it’s confident in its authentic humour.