Shane and Eddie: Picking up the Pieces, Les Freres du Monde
Reviewed by: Sophie Wawro
I like to make it my personal Fringe mission every year to go to at least one production which can be categorised as truly bizarre, and this year, that role has definitely been filled by Shane and Eddie. Part clown show, part social commentary and part off-key musical, those in search of a wildcard to add to their festival timetable will certainly find novelty value in this two-man show, but only a glimmer of the intelligence and variety that would elevate it to an eccentric must-see.
Having been informed of the performers’ credentials as students of Ecole Phillipe Gaulier, the Parisian comedic theatre school which taught Sacha Baron Cohen (Ali G, Borat, Brüno) his trade, I was intrigued to see how two twenty-something white men would pull off the character study of a strong black African woman and an aging fitness video baron on a practically empty stage. Unfortunately, opportunities for the audience to suspend its disbelief were few and far between, relegating the rather witty mockery of celebrity culture (“So I forgot I adopted a child – who hasn’t?”) to a backseat behind the cheap laughs of the pantomime dame.
This show’s best moments come in its musical interludes, a mixture of parodies and original numbers (the greasy blues feel of Eddie’s sultry duet with a sausage roll a particular highlight) which provide the real comic heart of the production, and its fast-paced dialogue is impressively tight, leading to the overwhelming impression that the concept would have worked brilliantly as one of several sketches in a more varied show, but felt tired after an hour.
Despite its faults, Shane and Eddie’s satirical romp through celebrityland is colourful and entertaining and very much in the spirit of the Fringe (fun, a bit mad, and unlikely to be seen outside of Edinburgh in August), and for this reason not a bad way for a festival-goer to spend an hour. Whether I would have felt quite the same way if there hadn’t been a bar and I’d paid £7.50 for the privilege I’m not sure.