Owen and Bettesworth: Sung and Unsung

As far as I’m aware the Fringe brand, although complete this year with a Cyclops yellow cat wearing a pork-pie hat, has no theme song. This marketing oversight has however been remedied by Laurence Owen, the sung half of Owen and Bettesworth: Sung and Unsung, with a song about the Fringe so brilliant it should immediately be adopted by the Fringe Office and broadcast down the Royal Mile. I cried with laughter at his witty yet loving description of Edinburgh in August – the hills, the crowds- and his acute dissection of the Fringe programme including ‘that Physical Theatre bit that nobody ever actually really reads.’

The Fringe song represented the high point of an uneven show. Oli Bettesworth in the unsung half of the show delivered a grumpy old man routine which belied his youthful appearance. There were some giggles in his rant about the inanities with which people greet each other in offices; overall though the downbeat nature of his stories made it a little too awkward to laugh. He accurately described himself as ‘quite a depressing person’ and didn’t help matters by studiously avoiding any eye contact with the audience and ending his routine with a discomfortingly angry anecdote about a heckler in a previous show.

Acting as compere, Lindsay Sharman though short on actual jokes, did a good job in livening up a very small audience. Her address to the empty chairs - her ‘legion of invisible followers’ - was a masterclass in how to make the best of a difficult situation.

Unconnected except by their genius, Owen’s songs variously lampooned religious schools, stalkers and seaside towns. The Spaghetti-Western soundtrack version of a chugger’s appeal for money was a particular treat. These are songs which seduce with their tight melodies and clever wordings and then deliver a glorious shot of pure dark satire. If ever there was a performer who will soon be snapped up by radio comedy and hit the big time it is Owen - see him now while you can.

Reviews by Charlotte Kelly

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

The Blurb

Singer/storyteller Laurence and comedian Oli each present their own brand of deadpan absurdism and playful confessions in music and stand-up. 'A gem' (Dan Antopolski). Hosted by Lindsay Sharman (Funny Women finalist).

Most Popular See More

Frozen the Musical

From £36.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Book of Mormon

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Mamma Mia!

From £15.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Mousetrap

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Phantom of the Opera

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Matilda the Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets