Double act comedy is very difficult. Unlike a solo stand-up each performer must take account of the other’s needs but, unlike sketch comedy, there’s no room for one performer to have a bad day.
That’s why it was with bated breath that I awaited Slap and Giggle and what I was met with, on the unlit stage of the Opium bar, was a show of massive contrasts.
Slap and Giggle’s material is, generally, of a pretty high standard with a very clever premise to almost every one of their sketches. Without giving the game away, I hugely enjoyed one clever skit initially set in a medical research lab, one based around a famous mutiny and one centred around the moon landing, juxtaposing two famous Armstrongs. Others like the You song are just amusingly silly and yet more like the Sooty sketch are twisted genius. All, however, show an offbeat view of the world which is extremely enjoyable.
However, clever as these ideas are, they’re not always executed to their best. Sketches like the Giggle Cousins and Terry the blind imaginary friend are well done but others such as their banker sketch or charity muggers feel overstretched and others still, Terry’s Chocolate Orange for example, are unpleasantly loud and raucous in tone.
Finally, my largest issue with this show was with its scene transitions. Every sketch show needs a framework to put the random sketches in order but the macabre tale of infidelity, depression and eventual suicide that Slap and Giggle have chosen is so wildly at odds with the tone of their sketches that it really spoiled my experience.
This is a show marred largely by an incredible disparity - funny sketches inside an almost disturbing structure. My advice to Slap and Giggle would be to dump the story and find a different way to link between scenes, then, God’s sake, point some lights at the stage.