The Bearpit Podcast Podcast

Imagine local talk radio teamed up with Inside the Actors Studio. Then imagine watching it live in a purple glowing room as a confusing array of comedy sound effects blare from all sides. This is Alan Partridge on an acid trip.

If there's one thing Bearpit Podcast does, it's taking risks. The show is experimental, it's anarchic, and it certainly is funny.

In essence the show is a fictional podcast - a mock recording of a programme that interviews a series of specialists on the theme of the day, in this case "film". However this simple description doesn't begin to do justice to the chaotic, semi-improvised confusion that is The Bearpit Podcast Podcast.

The show is hosted by Fin Taylor in the guise of the slick, confident Euan Raffles. He is assisted by a hapless producer playing the fool in a way many have done before him (let's call this the Pilkington effect). The relationship between the two provides an astute satire of the podcast genre. The pair is joined by a cast of eccentric guests, including an actor obsessed with keys, a Foley artist with a fondness for coconuts and an "award winner" most memorable for the fact he took to stage wearing fake teeth and covered in glitter. Lolly Adefope in particular shone as a film set runner, venturing from the deadpan to the totally surreal.

To say that the show feels like an elaborate in-joke is not necessarily a criticism. The deeper into the show you get, the more you are enveloped in a kind of hysteria: the laughs, when they do come, are the intense kind that squeeze the air out of your lungs and make your eyes water. The sheer pace of the surreal jokes engulfs you until you feel under attack - an effect enhanced by a live video stream of the audience played on a screen during a fake "Awards" segment of the show.

However there are also large sections of the show that leave you desperately wondering whether what you're witnessing is clever anti-comedy or just not quite pitched right. The cast seems to be enjoying themselves but critically one has to ponder the merit of a good two minutes of material that amounted to little more than pointing in disbelief at some giant comedy rubber ears. Intermittent "found" YouTube clips of a man shooting watermelons to pieces seemed to be aiming at wacky but only managed to illicit a vague awe at the bravery of the artistic choice. If there's one thing Bearpit Podcast does, it's taking risks. The show is experimental, it's anarchic, and it certainly is funny. But it's also immensely silly and you have to wonder when the silly jokes will start to wear a little thin.

Reviews by Jane Thompson



The Blurb

The Bearpit Podcast Podcast is recorded live at the Fringe on Ipswich FM. Hosted by Euan Raffles, there's a different theme every day of the week. The topics this year include comedy, film, This Is Your Life, crime, politics, sci-fi, and sports. Previous guests include Tommy Jumpers, Salmon Rushdie, Susan Honk, Inkey Jones and Richard Isapotato. Sponsored by Sipwich, the best beer in Ipswich. ‘YouTube’ (Independent). ‘Piss’ (ThreeWeeks). @Bearpitpod