EFR - Reviews of Fin Taylor and Jared Hardy - With Full Orchestra

Fin Taylor and Jared Hardy - With Full Orchestra

Fri 5th – Mon 29th August 2011

reviews

Harriet Baker

at 11:31 on 12th Aug 2011

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A Fin Taylor and Jared Hardy show is two things in one, and at the same time, neither. It is like listening to a radio show, or men joking over a pint, yet it is difficult to figure out how these different aspects interact with and compliment each other. Taylor opens the show with, “Bring your own jokes, you’re going to need them”, and in this vein it continues.

After a lengthy greeting with an attempt to excite and involve the audience, two separate sets followed, with the game, ‘2001 Face Odyssey’ in between. Both Taylor and Hardy delivered interesting individual sets, yet it was their undeterminable double-act that didn’t quite work, whilst the game baffled more than amused. Two members of the audience were asked to come forward and pick one of four categories pinned to the wall, on the other side of which was a famous face of 2001, which the contestants were asked to guess. Luckily one of the contestants seemed to know what was going on, but I sidled with the confused girl, who looked baffled at the task in front of the audience. It took a lot of work from Taylor and Hardy to get this moving along.

However, separately their two sets were original and witty. Fin Taylor delivered a set that was loosely structured around themes of travel and ex-girlfriends, delivering perhaps the only true brilliance of the show. A trip to Sweden yielded hilarious impressions of the language, likened to ‘German underwater’. Another joke revolved around girls’ obsession with wearing high heels, and his denial that they make legs look thinner. He pushed fun at Ryanair flights, language schools and the idea of punting in Oxford; “punting is for posh people. They sit in a narrow boat and throw focaccia at ducks.”

Jared Hardy’s set lacked structure and consequently it appeared as if he was pulling jokes at random. He expressed his like for the radio, but this quickly became a series of sketches about women, sex and football. It was half-ironic, but not enough to pull him away from the image of average pub banter; slapstick sketches of competitions between him and his housemate, attempting to describe how sex is like football better than the other.

Taylor’s more structured approach to his set, his techniques of playing new jokes off previous ones and inciting audience participation renders this show worth seeing. However, it was not enough to disguise the raw nature of the show in its entirety. The comedians do not make use of each other, instead inserting a game that feels like a filler and doesn’t really work. The humour is neither sophisticated nor genius, but perhaps this is the effect they are striving to achieve. A relaxed set with sparks of originality, a bit like listening to a radio show, or men joking over a pint.

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sophie ainscough

at 11:54 on 12th Aug 2011

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Fin Taylor and Jared Hardy appeared in matching tracksuits as pictured on the leaflet, but without the promised orchestra, something which would certainly have struggled to fit in the small sized venue, sitting as I was, admittedly on the front row, merely centimetres from the duo’s performance. This immediately created an intimacy between the audience and performers which the pair definitely worked to their advantage, both through audience interaction and through their choice of subject matter; dispelling an initially awkward atmosphere with direct appeals to audience members. Despite being addressed as the elephant in the room, evidently a reviewer with nowhere to hide given my bright red edfringe review jumper and awkward attempts to conceal a notepad and pen, I found myself put at my ease and drawn into the pair’s light hearted banter. Fin Taylor in particular chose to introduce his varying subject matter through audience response, moving from high heels to fat people on stilts and bald men’s heads to gobstoppers, in a well sequenced, engaging 20 minute slot of standup, the sense of the gags’ relevance to individual audience members adding to the feeling of comradeship. Such use of audience interaction enhanced the comedy, making it dynamic and almost dialogic - with Fin’s tirade that high heels do not in fact make one’s legs appear slimmer quietly countered by a female member of the audience: “Oh but they do.” Jared Hardy’s dry self mockery and self correction, although at moments becoming almost too prominent, was ultimately endearing and refreshing to see. Assisted by the small size of the venue, the pair created an atmosphere in which, to alter one of Jared’s height related gags, it was impossible to feel far away. Considering that this is a free performance, with donations encouraged at the close, the pair provide the perfect way to fill an hour in the afternoon with a dose of light hearted laughter.

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