By The Lovely Boys/Bright Buoy Productions
An old fashioned dressing up box lies centre stage, inconspicuously. As the audience file in, over five or ten minutes, we think nothing of it, but slowly, as the background music in the venue fades, the basket stealthily draws open. Emerging is a creepy being we come to know as uncle Willy. Willy is somewhere between The League of Gentleman’s Papa Lazarou and 1980’s children’s television character Noseybonk; seriously strange. The uncle of the boys is there to warm up up for the show but, as of yet, the crowd are unconvinced
Soon however The Lovely Boys are in the room and the tension eases as we meet Joe Kent-Walters and Mikey Bligh-Smith. They just want to show us something beautiful, show us their fabulous jumpers and play games with the crowd. Mikey suggests letting dogs loose in the venue to liven things up but Joe has a better idea, the phone game, which is an audience participation piece raising a laugh from the participants.
It’s clear from the themes and repetitions in the piece that Kent-Walters and Bligh-Smith have had contemporary clown training. They work well together and while neither is a “straight man” for the other, Kent-Walters veers towards the grotesque and Bligh-Smith towards the geeky, being slightly less weird.
The highlight of the show is when the boys play the father and son duo, the Naughty Boys, recklessly opening crisps, squashing bananas and dancing up a storm to the delight of the gathering. They do a funny version of the Harry Chapin song Cat’s in the Cradle, with Joe playing the reluctant father well.
Further through the piece we get a glimpse of the boys’ sponsors, who offer us the opportunity to invest in Robo-Cop, the ineffective eco warrior, and watch as Joe and Mikey are accidentally transported to the future and then back to the present, as well as being introduced to the God of the Puppets, who help Mikey from certain death.
There is also a very funny death scene where the repetition of the sound effect used for the gun gets more hilarious the more it is used.
This ramshackle style is charming to a point. You feel that the boys would benefit from a tighter structure to contain the madness from fraying at the edges and becoming too surreal as to be difficult to watch. Although, like Reeves and Mortimer, The Mighty Boosh and even Harry Hill, they have a good ratio of hits to misses in their comedy.
As the performance draws to a close I am not sure if the audience has seen something beautiful, but we have had a giggle here and a titter there to brighten up our day a little.
Reviewed on 12th June