Writer: Kevin Dewsbury, Mark Sparkler
Reviewer: Laura Maley
Greater Manchester Fringe Festival sees the very first gig for comedy duo Bungo Menebla. The duo of Kevin Dewsbury (stand-up comedian) and Mark Sparkler (writer and performer) promise idiocy, sketches and silliness at the Kings Arms in Salford.
What results seems surprisingly under-rehearsed, and hastily put together. Some sketches reference earlier ones, this is quite a clever idea but doesn’t fully work as there are so few laughs for the first sketch that as an audience it is hard to remember or care when it’s referred to later on. Overall, what is disappointing is that there doesn’t seem to be very much material that is new or different – possibly this is a result of too many ideas to create one coherent show.
The gaps between sketches are – without exception – overly-long, which adds (along with missing lines and fluffed lines) to an overall air of being wholly unprepared for the gig. At times the lengthy waits and lack of preparation feel excruciating. The surreal material isn’t quite surreal enough, and the more conversational sketches are just a bit too everyday to be very funny. Some sketches trail away with no punchline or realisation that the sketch is over.
The half star rating is given almost entirely on the strength of the final sketch featuring Barney the German Shepherd, which is undoubtedly silly, with a childishly simple and effectiveplay on words.
Dewsbury and Sparkler are seasoned, confident performers and, to their credit, are upfront about this being their first performance as Bungo Menebla. Sparkler makes a good straight man and Dewsbury’s ad libs do show a mark of a quick-thinking stand-up comedian. The show is a little shorter than advertised; possibly the pair sense the show is not engaging the audience as well as they would like. With a short run in Edinburgh Festival in August, there seems an awful lot which the duo need to work on.