Auntie Rene's Memory Box is the Smallest Museum in the World

A very ambitious performer, Guy Combes was not content with the idea of simply telling jokes. This is a character comedian, a surrealist and a storyteller- and one who hasn't quite got it right. On the premise that he's going to tap into the mind of his recently-deceased aunt, Combes proposes we watch choice pieces from her Memory Box. Through a mixture of monologues and songs, we see a few snapshots, but keep waiting for jokes that never quite arrive.

A comic with a great imagination, who unfortunately has not produced a show worth remembering.

A well-meaning comic, constantly giggling at both himself and his audience, Combes has made characters not quite distinct enough, not quite as ridiculous as the comedy demands. A wig and a Bristolian accent do not a crazy auntie make, and a pipe doesn't transform anyone into a deluded intellectual without a lot more effort. Combes himself is amiable enough, and a few improvised jokes at the expense of passers-by and a couple of token gifts at the show's end helped to get the audience on-side to a certain degree, but it was not enough to convince us of his comedic talent.

Auntie Rene's Memory Box gives us a few glimpses into the dear departed's life, all of which feel slow rather than sweet, and try to coax out laughs with unoriginal material. All the characters are as hesitant and fidgety as the storyteller himself, and never have a chance to really get going. Where any multimedia is used, like the deafening bleep of Auntie Rene's oscillator, it is mostly unnecessary, and takes up time and energy from the show at hand. We're left in silence for long, fumbling moments while Combes sets up the next threadbare bit, and the result is neither clever nor funny enough to warrant this much of a lull. A comic with a great imagination, who unfortunately has not produced a show worth remembering.  

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Performances

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The Blurb

Comedy and daring feats of extraordinary jangly bits from the well known cherry twanger. Witness the final life memories, wrung from a tiny mind for your entertainment. Bring your heirlooms for analysis by experts. See pea-brained imaginings deep in historium and meet the institutionalised, certifiable, non compos mentis people held within. ‘Absurdist comedy, in the spirit of Reeves and Mortimer and The Mighty Boosh ... happily bonkers ... smooth as peanut butter’ (Time Out). ‘Surreal and exquisite’ (BroadwayBaby.com). ‘Hilarious!’ (SuchSmallPortions.com).