Pistol & Jack – Smash.Glam.Sex.Music.
  • By Tom King
  • |
  • 18th Aug 2011
  • |
  • ★★★★

Character comedy is one of the most difficult types to do well. It’s easy to come up with a one-tic character, but to create a living, breathing personality that can respond to whatever the audience throws at them is much, much harder. Yet by fixing on their two musical styles and building personas to embody them, Pistol and Jack do just that and it makes for a fantastic evening.Pistol is a fantastically mental pop chanteuse, alive with brittle energy, belting out the tunes between outbursts of suppressed rage and the occasional vent of some massive daddy issues. She’s a grotesque creation but stories such as her first romantic encounter (in Utah) elicit such sympathy that you can’t help but love her in all of her broken glory.It is Jack however, who really clicks as a character. Raised by jackals, educated by pickpockets, self-taught on a guitar made of coffin lids and human hair and plucked out of obscurity by a band who he cannot legally name. The façade never drops once; the drug-addled gaze, unfailingly finding the most attractive woman in the audience and attempting to turn up the sexual wattage (Be warned – if you’re on the front row, you’ll be taking part whatever).The show essentially takes you through the history of the ‘band’, from their inauspicious beginnings in a Midwest steakhouse – Pistol entering a local talent contest and Jack chained to the amp, working off a colossal bar tab – to their to travels with former US president Bill Clinton. Revelations are made, tensions brought to the surface and, most of all, songs are sung.These mash-up medleys with their raucous pop-rock mix are incredibly impressive. The ten minute opener alone takes in pop hits from Shampoo to Hava Nagila to Rebecca Black, each song blending seamlessly into the next. Later medleys manage to bring together Johnny Cash, Willow Smith, Bowie, Britney, Radiohead and many more. While these musical interludes don’t always sit firmly within the story, they never get boring and both Pistol and Jack prove that they’re excellent musicians. They even manage to create moments of pathos which are a nice contrast to the prevailing madness. As a cabaret act it does seem a little odd to be watching Pistol and Jack completely sober, and the clinical surroundings of the Assembly do little to help this. In a different venue, one with a bar for example, a slightly more well-oiled audience might’ve been more inclined to get involved. All that said, Pistol and Jack is a loud, hilarious night.

Reviews by Tom King

Summerhall

A Fortunate Man

★★★
Underbelly, Cowgate

The Cat's Mother

★★★
The Stand Comedy Club 3 & 4

Phill Jupitus: Sassy Knack

★★★★
Traverse Theatre

Nigel Slater’s Toast

★★★
CanadaHub @ King's Hall in association with Summerhall

Famous Puppet Death Scenes

★★★★
Assembly George Square Gardens

Jess Robinson: No Filter

★★★★

The Blurb

Raucous. Heart-wrenching. Badass. She's an American pop princess. He's a depraved Cockney rocker. Preaching the filth and mashing up hits from Beyonce to Bowie, Pistol & Jack will bring you to your knees... www.pistolandjack.com