Call it morbid curiosity, but I was keen to see quite what Neil & Christine Hamilton were going to do at the Fringe. I thought, 'what do this pair know about entertainment?' Well, as it turns out, quite a bit, and I found myself liking them a helluva a lot more than I ever did in their former guise of Tory MP and battleaxe wife.
It's a cross between chat show and 'best of' type events. After some pretty self-deprecating banter, they wheel out some guests to plug whatever they're in, followed by a bit of public humiliation to get the audience in a jolly mood before the curtain comes down. You can't knock the formula.
Sadly the first two guests today were a little lacklustre, and the celebrity light of Neil & Christine themselves was far too bright to allow them to shine through. Christine failed to mention Rebecca Carrington's last name as she introduced her first guest, thus leaving little hope that the audience would be able to find her in the Fringe programme (should they have wished to watch her scratching her instrument). Following Rebecca, the producer of a random play was invited on. Interviews with the stars, this ain't. Some of the best lines are not between the invited guests, but directed to the control box where their line manager, Stuart, takes the blame for any cock-ups.
However, most of this can be forgiven because of their third guest, Dominic Holland. He gave as good as he got, and really lifted the show into some bizarre areas of comic gold. Here's a tip - go see Dominic's show.
Neil and Christine are certainly entertaining, but it's also clear the quality of their show depends heavily on the quality of their guests. Perhaps their much-maligned whipping boy, Stuart, is being spared the rod.