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Home arrow Archive: EdFringe 2013 arrow Peacock & Gamble: Heart-throbs
Peacock & Gamble: Heart-throbs
Published on Sunday, 25 August 2013

5 stars

Pleasance Courtyard (venue website)
31 Jul, 1-10, 12-15, 18-25 Aug, 9:45pm-10:45pm; 16-17 Aug, 12:15am-1:15am, 9:45pm-10:45pm
Reviewed by Liam McKenna

 Recommended for age 16+ only.

The buzz has made it round Edinburgh. This infectiously funny double-act is back, a year on from the show which assured us that they Didn’t Even Want To Be On Telly Anyway, to tell everyone about their meteoric rise to fame in Japan. Yes, if you believe the shtick, Peacock and Gamble have made it big in the Far East! So big, they admit it’s surprising they’re still doing the Fringe.

Now sponsored by a Japanese dairy product, the pair are under pressure to perform and rake in the cash every night. The act retains everything that has endeared Peacock & Gamble to their cult UK following, but inevitably Japan has changed them. Peacock no longer wants to be “the stupid one”, and takes up some of the hour to promote his “other” Fringe show – a serious solo performance. Gamble is getting increasingly frustrated with not having any funny lines. It’s a recipe for disaster, and it delivers spectacularly.

There are disagreements over who is the bigger part of the double act. Japan seems to have taken more kindly to Peacock; together they have had to make changes to their act, become edgier, pursue new directions to please their corporate owners. Over the hour we see P&G try their hands at online dating, and as game show hosts of a soon-to-be-massive Japanese export. It’s the perfect blend of chaos, deconstruction and silliness, summed up aptly by an audience member who struggles, when prompted, to “name the year” (2013, if you were wondering): “Nineteen…fifty…two?” he hazards (cue winces).

The show pays off relentlessly. Even a section about inappropriate jokes, a bid to steal ideas off “the cool, trendy comics,” turns into one of the most hilarious routines I’ve seen in a while. And it’s all down to some fabulous acting. Peacock plays his moody man-child with disgusting brilliance. Even when they appear to break character and laugh during a “blip”, it’s hard not to suspect the whole thing was planned, in a post-modern take on the traditional spirit of the double act that they do so well.

As the show steamrolls towards its climax, we’re led to believe we are witnessing the partnership crack and disband before our eyes. Peacock’s got his other show to work on and Gamble’s reaching breaking point. The future’s not looking bright. What has fame done to these once loveable rogues?

But as Peacock’s “big surprise” comes to an end, we’re faced with a stay-together-for-the-kids kind of moment, bringing the show to a heartfelt and thought-provoking finish that you might not have thought possible at the start. It’s a conclusion which pulls you close, and leaves you feeling surprisingly warm inside. In the end, as Peacock realises, life’s not about edgy jokes or corporate sponsorship deals. It’s about having a friend.

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