Jack Gardner and Liberty Hodes On Ice

"It's not started.... I'm just showing off!", Liberty slurs as she flurries around, sorting out props while the audience arrives. This casual, friendly and disorganised tone is typical of both Jack Gardner and Liberty Hodes, who don't take themselves too seriously. We immediately get the impression that they're enjoying themselves too. The pair have absolutely no shame, which is refreshingly honest and their tight, supportive friendship is clear.

This is a scatty, batty and very absurd show, and I have a feeling that it will never be the same two days in a row.

They take half an hour each to do absurd, clown-like comedy that even they struggle to define. It's part stand-up, part theatre and part musical comedy but totally batty and surreal to watch. You can see the audience gradually warm to the challenge of working out exactly what they're watching: it's funny and most people get there. 

Jack Gardner goes first, with a very characterful air of showmanship. The quick and topical punchlines are well-delivered and some very clever political satire is hidden behind silly voices and cartoon flashcards. He manages to appear polished and well-rehearsed amongst the madness of his material, which features some of the most artistic illustrations I've ever seen in a comedy show. When a niche topic comes up, like late ‘80s Manchester indie bands, he warns the audience about it and remains funny enough not to alienate the sections of the audience that it wasn't written for.

Liberty Hodes gives off an overall impression of loveliness and a very different, though no less potent, flavour of absurdity. Barefoot, she trips around the yurt with an air of scatty impulsiveness. There is no attempt to maintain an illusion of slickness as she chaotically careers between mini-plays in which she portrays all of the characters and quirky songs on a ukulele that she spontaneously pulls out of a suitcase and decides to play. She’s deliberately awkward and self-aware as a performer, although the disorganisation becomes more than a character choice and starts to get in the way of the show. We never quite know when the performance is going to end, but neither does Liberty, who ushers Jack back on stage when she apparently runs out of material.

This is a scatty, batty and very absurd show, and I have a feeling that it will never be the same two days in a row. It is funny and worth seeing though, if only to see Jack argue with a very offensive pineapple.

Reviews by Cara Ballingall

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The Blurb

A kaleidoscopic absurdist comedy adventure led by two anarchic performers. A bit PeeWee, a bit Lynchian and very, very fun indeed.

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