SPACE BOY
Pleasance, Edinburgh
August, 2000

"This chaos is killing me," sings David Bowie on the pre-show tape. Well, not killing, by any means, but it's certainly slowing the two performers down a bit. Matthew Perret and Jeremy Limb (runners-up in the LWT Comedy Writing Award here in 1998 for their wonderful Peter Cook sort-of-biography Play Wisty For Me) have created a show of two halves, and seem rather to know it.

When Space Boy (Limb, in silver-grey kagoule and with his voice distorted through a radio mic) first arrives in the life of a no-hope comedy club compere, the duo show an immense amount of inventiveness, rattling out astrophysics gags and temporal-paradox routines reminiscent of Ben Moor's early shows several years ago in the same upstairs room at the Pleasance. They not only enjoy producing plot ambiguities and loopholes, but turn them into a story motif in themselves, claiming that the show's energy is draining away into the cosmos through said holes.

Alas, this turns out to be more than a little self-fulfilling. Round about the time when they announce "the part of the show that doesn't really work," they do indeed begin to run out of steam. Digressions and fictional bickering eclipse the narrative and the cleverness, and number of makeweight musical numbers appear (although one couplet about Death In Venice is simply priceless). It's a pity that two such able writers and performers end up selling themselves short.

Written for the Financial Times Web site, ft.com

Copyright Ian Shuttleworth; all rights reserved.

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