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The Sunday Defensive: Further Complications
Published on Sunday, 15 August 2010

5 stars

Pleasance Courtyard (venue website)
Until 30 Aug, 4:45pm (5:45pm)
Reviewed by Craig Thomson

The Sunday Defensive's debut Fringe performance, last year's Friend or Foe?, was one of my personal top shows of 2009 and a 5-star review on FringeGuru.  I've found much to love again in Phil Gilbert and Jacob Edward's follow-up, Further Complications.

The most obvious further complication in their act is that Phil and Jacob are getting married – they just haven't told their girlfriends yet, or their fathers for that matter.  Their pending nuptials provide a context for their pleasantly bizarre sketches, as they try to prepare themselves for wedded bliss.  Somehow, along the way, that takes in the funniest sketches I've seem this year to involve cheese, fish fingers and raccoons.  I'm not even really sure how, or why; but it made sense at the time, enraptured as I was by their lunacy.

I recognise I need to dial the fan-boy back a little, but I really think more people need to be aware of these guys.  Phil, the shorter one, drives the show forward, handling exposition and setup in classic straight-man fashion.  Jacob, the taller one, sporting a handsome moustache this year, takes on the sillier side of things... and has the strangest and most expressive face you could wish for.  Observe his uncommonly wide smile, for instance in a series of vignettes as he tries and fails to play the most elementary of musical instruments.

Together, they are an absolute pleasure to watch.  Their comedy is eccentric and outlandish, but never malicious or mean-spirited.  Credit must also go to Nick Collett for his direction, and their promo material cites him as an important member of the setup.

Last year, I said they ought to be on a bigger stage.  Well, they've  moved from a tiny attic in the Pleasance Courtyard complex to the Pleasance Hut, “some sort of shipping crate in the back end of a wet car park,” as Jacob observed during a deafening downpour.  It is, in fairness, a bigger venue, and was nearly at capacity when I visited.  But maybe next year, The Sunday Defensive will be given the prominence I think they deserve.

In the meantime, they're still in a space intimate enough for you to see the flecks of cheese fly.  I urge you to see them, because Further Complications has it all: love, laughter and Red Leicester.  Not to be missed, they will not disappoint.

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These are archived reviews of shows from the Edinburgh Fringe 2010.  We keep our archives online as a courtesy to those we've featured, and for readers who'd like to research previous years' reviews.

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