Thünderbards: Seconds

With a show based around time travel, Thunderbards make a whole hour zip merrily by. What is most impressive about sketch comedy duo Glen Moore and Matt Stevens is the sheer pace of their humour: The utter number of jokes, dropped non-stop, almost make one wonder whether their uber-watches really can warp time to their whim. As the pair lay out the conceit of more long-game gags, their conversation is ever-peppered with puns, witticisms and one-liners. This said, the pressure of keeping up this pace can leave the show prone to some pretty low-grade jokes: bits about the Queen using postage stamps and blind referees feel a touch well-worn. Furthermore, this need for a little humour a lot of the time leaves the pair mining metahumour for funnies far more than they ought. Constant self-reference gives the comedy a bit of a juvenile feel, especially when elsewhere this pair have proven themselves to be far more accomplished than this.

All this being said, the duo certainly pull some top-notch comedy out the bag, both old-school and ingenuitive.

The need for such throwaway gags may well stem from a conceit both a little ill-fitting and overly-odd. Not only do the two feel the need to explain the ins-and-outs of their time-hopping technology, but this conceit is further complicated by the introduction of unnecessary throughlines: the pair, for example, centre their journeys around family members’ past and present. Not only does such high-concept stuff take plenty of time in the explanation, but it likewise means the sketches themselves become very tenuously linked to the core conceit(s): I still don't understand why a conversation about confidence would lead the two to visit a provincial mayor opening a hospital, nor why a sketch featuring Seal and Heidi Klum - in its own right incredibly funny - must be made to fit the familial mould of the show once again. To be sure, the pair caveat the batty ideas with (more) metahumour, "try not to give this too much thought because we haven't" - such a statement is a little more apt that it was meant to be.

All this being said, the duo certainly pull some top-notch comedy out the bag, both old-school and ingenuitive. An old-fashioned prop comedy skit set in a library leaves its audience in stitches. Likewise, the pair push the envelope to hilarious effect even when they're offstage, with a running bit using Siri, and a madcap audio tour through a showhome that is wonderful in its ability to constantly wrongfoot the audience throughout its running time.

Both parts of this outfit are eminently talented, and it is only because they produce such an awe-inspiring amount of content that I'm given so much to critique. I'd certainly recommend seeing them to anybody:the pair are immensely likeable, and their show certainly leaves its audience on a high - I'd only suggest these time travellers might want to pause for a second and bring their concept down a level or two.

Reviews by Jack Powell

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Thünderbards: Seconds

★★★

Performances

Location

The Blurb

Following last year's critically acclaimed debut, New Act of the Year finalists and sketch duo Thünderbards (Glenn Moore and Matt Stevens) return with their second hour of comedy. After giving up on conventional sketch writing, the boys are free to pursue their real interest: time-travel. See them traverse the decades to find out a little more about their ancestors, which is all very well. It's when they begin to meddle with the future that things get complicated... 'Without question one of the funniest sketch shows on the Fringe' (GQ). 'Brilliantly performed and hysterically written' **** (List).