Theatre Review: Stand-Up Comics at Camden Fringe Festival

Sketch show fun a comically good offering at Camden Fringe

Who needs a trip to the Edinburgh Festival, when the Camden Fringe offers hundreds of shows across the borough throughout August?

With a similar aesthetic to its Highland cousin, this festival is packed with weird and wonderful performances of all shapes and sizes and in all manner of venues. Stand-Up Comics is a perfect example - a small cast with a limited production budget managed to have a packed audience in the Roundhouse Studio Theatre tickled pink.

Sitcoms featuring dysfunctional relationships between two social outcasts have oft been comedy gold - Richie and Eddie in Bottom, Alan and Michael in I’m Alan Partridge, and Ted and Ralph in the Fast Show being prime examples. Building on this classic formula, Stand-Up Comics tells the story of two comic fetishists, both with a somewhat tenuous grip on reality, who spend their days running the only graphic novel shop for miles around.

Kris is the overpowering boss, hiding his feelings behind an acerbic exterior, who browbeats and bullies (although secretly loves) his underling Liam, an idealistic dreamer who devotes his time to problems such as whether superheroes use a special launderette to dry clean their costumes. They also write comics together, and their relationship becomes strained when Liam starts working with a new artist, who he also has a puppy-like crush on. Enter Liz, their jobless female friend, Adrian the grave digger and Ashlynn, the love interest herself, and tempers fray and emotions are laid bare.

Although a healthy percentage of the script relies on comic book references, there is plenty to enjoy for those of a less nerdy persuasion, and the fight scene in particular is worth the entry fee alone. Even if you don’t know your DC from your 2000AD, Stand-Up Comics is a thoroughly humorous and enjoyable 60 minutes.

* Shown at the Camden Fringe Festival, Roundhouse Studio Theatre, Chalk Farm Road, NW1, from August 8-9.