Peacock and Gamble Emergency Broadcast

Just over the half the audience at Peacock and Gamble's Emergency Broadcast seem to love this show. Just under half do not. Coincidentally, then, support for Peacock and Gamble works within the same proportions - amongst those with a preference - as support for the death penalty. The ostensible purpose of the hour is to offer segments that could replace other shows in the event of some large technical failure or other emergency. The structure is loose enough to hang just about any material, a washing line on which any old dirty sock can be pegged. And boy do Peacock and Gamble peg some stinkers.In essence the problem is this. Ray Peacock's character – a simpleton in the traditional style of the handicapped "natural" fool – is given license in the show to make bad jokes and say offensive things by the nature of his character. However the character is nowhere near strong enough to support this material and the audience is left with failed punchlines and idiocy without the justification or framework to distance Peacock as a performer from his character's failure. In one of the worst sections, he sits down and sings a song out of tune whilst making fart noises, before eventually breaking down into Johnny Vegas levels of brittle aggression, but lacking the richness and humanity of Vegas's ingenious vulgarity, the routine just comes over as sad.Where Gamble is involved things sometimes look up. His fine Joker pastiche in the show’s finale amongst a brilliant musical routine and a hilariously mismatched costume choice from Peacock almost saves the show in the final few minutes. But some of his best material was dated before it was written. A world tour of warped pick 'n' mix national stereotypes is fantastic until you realise that Dylan Moran was doing it better five years ago.There are also conceits taken directly and shamelessly from Ali G – Peacock believes he is black – and the online sketch group Rooster Teeth – Peacock ‘invents’ a new games console – in a way that will prove uncomfortable to any seasoned comedy audience. During the show the duo reference bad comments from a four-star review obtained earlier in the run. Perhaps my review will provide them with enough material to pull their socks up. But I wouldn't bet on it.

Reviews by Tom Moyser

Laughing Horse @ The Free Sisters

The Girl with the Hurricane Hands (and Other Short Tales of Woe)

★★★
Pleasance Courtyard

A Tale of Two Cities: Blood for Blood

★★
Traverse Theatre

Breakfast Plays: Tech Will Tear Us Apart (?)

★★★★
theSpace @ Jury's Inn

Droll

★★★★
Summerhall

The Castle Builder

★★★
Summerhall

4D Cinema

★★★★★

The Blurb

When live performances go wrong, step forward Peacock and Gamble (Russell Howard's 'Good News', Peacock and Gamble Podcast) with their ramshackle, seat-of-the-pants, emergency comedy night. Chortle Award Nominees 2011. 'Unfettered roars of laughter' (Guardian).