Comedy shows have a bad name. That’s because for every Bill Hicks, there’s a thousand short, tubby men, offering up an hour’s bitter rhetoric about their girlfriend’s annoying habits. For every Eddie Izzard, there’s hundreds of ungainly women whose only joke seems to be about their being ungainly. There’s just generally a lack of intelligence and originality out there, which puts a lot of people (or me, anyway) off leaving their house/trusted DVD sets and discovering new comedy.
Guilt and Shame did not give me these hollow feelings of disappointment. They describe themselves as ‘depraved comedy due for every bad decision you’ve ever made’ and their show takes in sexual addiction, angry drug dealers, and the horrific consequences of tea-bagging a swan. I’ve seen their previous two Edinburgh preview shows before and while they were funny, they were also a little too hectic and rushed – this time it’s clever and well paced.
So, the audience are taken on a journey as part of an addict’s meeting, led by Gabe – a reformed sex addict. His attempts at living clean are constantly foiled by gay and reluctantly virginal Rob, who can’t understand why Gabe has turned his back on a life of parties, drugs and casual sex. The tall, skinny, ginger one, Rob’s physical comedy is a big part of the show – his Gollum impression that results from Gabe confiscating his drugs being a highlight. The show keeps you on your toes as it’s constantly moving on, so it never gets stale the plot devices they use vary wildly (audience participation that leaves the front row cowering, pime (pornographic mime)). It’s disgusting, it sometimes teeters on plain offensive and it will make you bodily cringe, but it works because it has heart - you believe in the two character’s friendship.
This show is for anyone whose nights out tend to veer towards excess and debauchery – if you have, say, woken up in an ambulance whilst being resuscitated, or been escorted home by the police. This show is for those who can’t stop after their second spritzer and, like Rob’s character, like to write their name all over their body to remind themselves of it whilst K-holing. This show is for anyone who has ever been to The Dolphin*.
*Sorry to be London-centric. This is a drinking establishment in East London, open ‘til late, and pure filth, both literally and metaphorically. “I just hope tonight doesn’t end up in The Dolphin,” is a common saying, or the next day, simply ruefully groaning, “We ended up in The Dolphin,” says it all. I’m sure there are similar places all over England.
You can check out more of Guilt And Shame here on their site.
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