Heart throbs is a show that pulsates with silliness. This is down to Peacock’s extraordinary ability to morph himself into the character of a three-year-old (and a very, very weird three-year-old at that), who threatens to cheapen the show with his crudeness and immaturity. His poor grammar and egocentric, whiny mannerisms have chillingly perfected ‘the child’. Gamble’s job is thus to stand by, with head in hands, playing the straight man who is terrified of Peacock bringing down the tone of the evening with his poor taste and fanatical toilet humour.
Many of the jokes consequently derive from aspects of the show going wrong. Peacock announces different activities and gags that he has prepared, ‘like all the other trendy Fringe comics have been doing’. Gamble reluctantly agrees to let Peacock share these delights with us. They each ‘fail’ in quite marvellous ways.
The premise of this year’s show is the duo’s recently acquired fame and success – in Japan.This news is accompanied by amusing ‘evidence’ in the form of Japanese magazine covers with their faces photoshopped in, and slides advertising ‘Yuki butter’, which they have been called upon to advertise. They have thus become international heartthrobs, hence the show title.
However, Peacock and Gamble seem to have lost something of the spectacular charm they flaunted in previous years. They have been more wild, original and just downright weird in the past. This year has seen the introduction of Gamble jokes complaining about how boring it is to play the straight man. Whilst last year Gamble seemed to have more to do on-stage, this year this complaint seems uncomfortably close to home, along with the jokes about how much bigger in Japan Peacock is than Gamble, and the song about the solo Peacock show and not the Peacock and Gamble show. This not very funny aspect of their material became a little repetitive.
So, while those new to Peacock and Gamble may find them too silly, fans might find themselves disappointed by their regression. Nevertheless, whilst Heartthrobs might just miss a beat, it is still a fun show worth seeing.