Friday, 13 February 2009

Chortle review from Leicester

Okay, it's not a bad review after all. I was a bit put off that it appeared to be a 3 star review, then I realised the stars were left over from our earlier Edinburgh review, and that Chortle's Leicester Comedy Festival reviews are in fact star-free. So I'll count this as a 4-starrer:

Review from Leicester Comedy Festival, February 2009

The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre is one of those ideas that can be stupidly entertaining over a three-minute internet clip, although you fear just how thin the joke is stretched during a 60-plus minute show.

It is exactly what it says on the label: two sock puppets who speak in high-pitched comedy Scottish accents rattle through puns, songs, puns, sketches, puns, vaudeville backchat, puns and puns.

Yet though the abandonment of all restraint and shame, the show can often be hilarious, thanks to the power of chutzpah alone.

Creator Kev F Sutherland has created a viral online marketing campaign for the wee chappies that’s as ferocious as ebola, releasing a new clip almost daily. It means a lot of material is generated for this full-length offering, so although the chuckle levels do flag at times, overall it’s a lot more entertaining than you would think.

Our nameless duo aim to be the Morecambe and Wise of the hosiery world, right down to the Play-What-I-Wrote dynamic of one sock attempting something weighty, which the other undermines with their impatient tomfoolery; although they do eventually cooperate for the potted version of Romeo & Juliet that closes the show.

Sometimes the banter is almost painfully bad: for example the sequence when sock B repeatedly – and increasingly tenuously – misunderstands the person sock A is talking about. It starts with ‘deforestation’ being confused with ‘DeForest Kelly’ and goes downhill (if you can acknowledge such a thing) from there. Yet by acknowledging the unlikeliness of the confusion, but ploughing on regardless, the painfulness of situation becomes funny.

Sutherland has, basically, hit on a formula that makes appalling jokes work. No flesh-and-blood comic would ever get away with the sort of forced material often on offer here. But say it in a silly voice, with a sock on your hand, and it transforms into something charming.

The low-tech constraints of it all provide laughs, too, as from behind the Punch-and-Judy style booth, Sutherland struggles gamely with costume changes for his google-eyed characters, or even loses his place in the script.

This show might not be high art, but it’s happy to celebrate its own sheer daftness – and with that sort of lively, knockabout attitude you can’t help but have silly fun.

Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Leicester Comedy Festival, February 2009

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