Guilt & Shame: Going Straight

With more raucous energy than a crate of Red Bull sprinkled with cocaine, Rob Cawsey and Gabe Bisset Smith under the collective guise Guilt & Shame bring their new show Going Straight to this year’s Fringe. It is a brash, farcical and brilliant tale of cults, homophobia and Elton John impressions. Being handed a clinical brainwashing cap upon entrance, we are immediately thrown into Clarkson’s world of cars, drink, women and cars.

This duo smash their run at the Fringe every year, and this year is no exception.

The hour of irreverent comedy follows Gabe, who has founded a religion based on the everyday teachings of Jeremy Clarkson, as he tries to convert his best friend Rob from being gay to following the ways of Clarkstianity, with life-changing results. The format of not-quite-sketch show is refreshing, giving the audience a coherent narrative to follow through the show. While being bat shit crazy, with the boys jumping from flashbacks of club nights to meetings with a hilariously imagined Tom Cruise and back again with comic ease, the arch of the story provides a satisfying and brilliant payoff, which you can often feel is lost with sketch shows without a narrative structure.

These boys are incredibly skilled at the art of performance, with every joke hitting the mark in terms of thematic pitch and timing. Their energy is palpable throughout the show, injecting every line and every turn with a young and exciting relentless spunk. Rob’s hilariously filthy miming of a steamy night session with his mystery Midnight Princess is amazingly done, with precise and in your face movements. This is perfect squeamish comedy.

Through the orchestrated chaos of costume changes, voice-overs and some very silly sound effects (wait until the glasses start smashing, it’s glorious) the boys present the audience with a story of friendship, retribution, acceptance and the world according to Clarkson - and just how bad it is. This duo smash their run at the Fringe every year, and this year is no exception. Brilliantly observed and whimsically satirical, Going Straight manages to hold a commentary on modern issues which, while never preaching, is consistently entertaining.

Reviews by Andy Smith

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★★★
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★★★
Traverse Theatre

SmallWar

★★★
Laughing Horse @ The Counting House

The Sons of Pitches: Boiler Alert!

★★★★★
Pleasance Courtyard

Ian Smith – Flappable

★★★★
Pleasance Dome

McNeil and Pamphilon Go 8-Bit!

★★★★

Performances

Location

The Blurb

Depraved comedy duo for every bad decision you've ever made. After five star sell-out runs at the Edinburgh Festival, Soho Theatre, Brighton Fringe, Bestival and Latitude, Guilt & Shame return with their brand new show. Rob and Gabe need to change their hedonistic ways so they join a strange religious cult. But their new god has some very weird rules. Wild sketch comedy with crazy dances, rapping dwarfs and a disco loving transvestite, Guilt & Shame: Going Straight is anything but. ***** (TheNewCurrent.co.uk). ***** (FreshAir.org.uk). **** (ThreeWeeks). **** (BroadwayBaby.com).