Creators: Simon Plotkin, Tim Meredith and Calum Anderson
Reviewer: Simon Topping
Speeding onto the stage dressed all in black, like a hirsute Johnny Cash tribute, come the cheery improv comedy duo, Do the Thing (Simon Plotkin and Tim Meredith)accompanied by their mysterious musical friend (Calum Anderson), who does not speak but wields an acoustic guitar, ready to play.
After some light crowd banter and warming up, The Two Man Made-Up Musical begins. Soon, thanks to a couple of crowd suggestions, we are in the surreal world of an effluent flinging recluse on Bodmin Moor, battling with a power hungry Swindonian business tycoon, who wants to turn the hermit’s shack into a burgeoning casino. This is the beauty of improv, both actor and audience can soon find themselves anywhere!
It is clear Plotkin and Meredith know each other very well; this is the strength and key to the success of the performance. They both seem to know where their partner’s mind will wander, which leads to some fabulous moments as one will catch out the other in a playful and goading way. Meredith is a fabulous character builder and has a Shakespearian quality about his style, while Plotkin is more rooted in the present, creating earthy, angry antagonists. Both men are very funny. The piece is underpinned with the music of Anderson, who so seamlessly fits into the scenes that you would not know he was even there; a very skilful achievement to pull off.
The best improv comedy has a tight structure at its core allowing the performers to be funny around the framing; at Do the Thing the audience are privy to this in action. Like two majestic swans Plotkin and Meredith glide effortlessly across the surface of the show with their winsome, erudite and quick-witted badinage, while all the time peddling furiously underneath with immense skill and determination. The whole evening is a joy, summed up perfectly with the sing-a-long Hot Dog song that closes the performance. This is the height of good, silly nonsense presented in a joyful way.
Reviewed on 2nd June