There’s something about the marriage of the arcane and the amusing, the faux Victoriana of shows like ‘Bleak Expectations’, that I always find enjoyable. So it was with high hopes that I went to see We Are Goose’s ‘Will You Hold My Hand?’. I was not disappointed.
We Are Goose is actually only one-half Goose, with Timothy Goose supported by friend and backing musician Rich ‘Squire’ Hughes. The pair make an engaging partnership with an on-stage chemistry that feels both natural and hearfelt. It’s also an unusually equal partnership, with Tim’s wide-eyed madcap anarchy equalled by Rich’s more-subtle straight-man humour.
The show is based, intriguingly, around the life and works of John Hunter, the father of modern surgery and founder of London’s Hunterian Museum – a true British eccentric. His exploits, from single-handedly kickstarting the body-snatching industry to sowing a testicle to a chicken, prove fertile ground for comedy.
Unlike many shows which attempt to use a common thread to link disparate material, We Are Goose properly follow through the effort. The bulk of ‘Will You Hold My Hand’ seems to be custom material which, given the quite specific subject matter, is really quite impressive.
Though there are a few sections of pure physical comedy (a reconstruction of the Bourbon war with – you guessed it – biscuits being a highlight), most of the comedy is based around a series of comedy songs which are mostly superb. Among these, my undoubted favourite was a song about John Hunter’s Earls Court menagerie with Tim delivering a rapid animal rap that really has to be seen.
Given the pseudo-scientific theme, other songs about clone threesomes and the possibility of an infinite number of monkeys writing the perfect lovesong feel perfectly in place. And even the few bits of material that cannot be smoothly linked into the show’s central framework, such as ‘The Battle of the Tims’ are so clever and funny than you don’t really begrudge their inclusion.
With a little more time I’m confident We Are Goose will be standing shoulder-to-shoulder with other British eccentric comedians as Tim Fitzhigham or the Penny Dreadfuls. For now, I'll just say this - jolly good show, chaps!