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The Sunday Defensive: Friend And Foe
Published on Friday, 21 August 2009

The Sunday Defensive, with slightly nerdish charm, have crafted a fantastically encapsulated comic routine. I think it is some of the best writing I have seen this year - and it suits their odd-couple vibe perfectly.

The Defensive, short bespectacled Phil and tall bespectacled Jacob, start where it all began: not the bang, not the word, but rather a sausage being dragged coquettishly over and into Phil's face. That’s not the only smoked-meat-based comic routine in their act either; and nor is it actually where it all began, as they enjoy constructing and deconstructing flashbacks to their origin story.

Their real-life beginnings as a comedy duo are no less bizarre than their sketch-based storytelling (it involves working on Popworld, a taxi and a hernia), and Friend and Foe is their Edinburgh Fringe debut. Their newness has landed them in one of the smallest venues in the Pleasance empire, the aptly-titled Attic, which at least offers the advantage of seeing two fantastic performers up close. And I mean UP CLOSE.

Expect to see them on a bigger stage next year, but take the opportunity to catch them in the tiny one now: The Sunday Defensive juggle flashbacks and callbacks with aplomb. While audience interaction is par for the course at a Fringe show, they have a neat innovation with a cast member switching places with a ‘ticket’. At all times, they manage to be outrageously offensive without being aggressive, and without ever losing their charm.

The finale that thrilled me so much is a montage, of all things, which ties up all the loose ends they have scattered throughout the show into a hilarious climax. The pair have an easy way with each other, and look and feel as if they should be huge. They will be: cross my heart... or, failing that, stick a sausage in my eye.

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