EFR - Reviews of Rory & Tim: Good for Nothing

Rory & Tim: Good for Nothing

Tue 7th – Sat 25th August 2012

reviews

Laura Peatman

at 01:18 on 23rd Aug 2012

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Too much comedy at the Fringe tries to make a big point about something – to take a stance, to be subversive, edgy, controversial, satirical, ironic… It was therefore refreshing to see this troupe having some light-hearted fun with no pretensions, and so clearly having a whale of a time on stage, whilst still generating sharp, well-executed comedy.

Wait, I hear you cry, THREE performers?! Ah. You noticed that. Yes, ‘Rory and Tim’ in fact consists of Rory O’Keefe, Tim Schneider and Iain Stewart. Poor Iain: it seems to be a running joke that he’s the awkward third wheel of the group, and even his trademark t-shirt is a tad faded in comparison to the other two. Fortunately this endearing quality certainly does not extend to his talents as a comedian, as all three perform confidently and hilariously throughout.

The sketches may not be groundbreaking but – and this is infinitely more important – they are consistently funny. The show comprises physical humour (tubes of Fruit Pastilles in a vending machine) and wordy writing, such as their take on ‘The Apprentice’ or the results commentary sketch: both genres work equally well with the delivery always spot-on and the limited space being exploited effectively for the greatest physical impact, particularly in using the aisle space between the audience. Occasionally repeated sketches erred on being tedious, primarily the series of ‘you're driving?’ scenes, but for the most part they avoid this pitfall. The Easter-themed takes on popular Christmas songs are a highlight – ‘Jesus Baby’ is destined to go platinum – and the ‘Fenton’ skit made a potentially easy target original and, quite frankly, hilarious. It is evident that much of their material is inspired by, or aimed at, the student age-group: accurately-fired shots at the UCAS log-in system and slimy attempts at seduction in sticky nightclubs generated some knowing smiles amongst the general laughter.

My personal favourite has to be the interview with boxers Mark ‘The Metaphor’ and Louis ‘The Literal’ – and not just because of my geeky pleasure at literary references. As well as a witty script, the episode provides the perfect showcase for O’Keefe’s accents and exaggerated facial expressions which had the audience in stitches throughout the show, and for Schneider’s boundless, almost violent energy to emerge in this aggressive characterisation. Having seen the skit twice already at the Free Footlights’ Show did not lessen its comic effect for me: indeed, knowing what was about to come perhaps made me even more inclined to giggle.

The most engaging aspect of this performance is the group’s sense of fun and their capacity and willingness to laugh at themselves and each other, but without any sense of smugness in their own abilities. Their acknowledgement of when things went wrong was charming rather than disappointing, and the manner in which they nearly lost control and collapsed into giggles in the final sketch made it a brilliant climax to an hour of pure, unadulterated fun.

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Steve Hartill

at 09:29 on 23rd Aug 2012

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This strangely named sketch comedy group (there’s actually three of them) present a bizarre trio. Rory and Tim are implied to be the stars of the show, with Ian, their third man, being attached later. In fact, Ian is the only one out of the three who seems a little uncomfortable on stage, but this might easily be chalked up to inexperience. There are a number of running jokes in this show, whether it is Ian’s apparent “selling-out” to corporate sponsors, or a few recurring sketches, such as the “you’re driving?!” sketch, a personal favourite. Although these may repeat too often in the show, they possess a new and interesting element each time. The writing of the sketches is overall very good: some may occasionally dwindle into weaker endings, but for the most part they are clever and allow the performers to illustrate their comedic talents. A number of the references made in the show are distinctly modern. Another aspect of the writing is the surreal nature of this group’s sense of humour, as many of the sketches feature bizarre settings or twists: some of their sketches seem to have a formula of introducing a strange setting or idea, and then layering it up with a second one. This technique works in some instances and fails in others.

The acting of the performers on stage is also impressive. Naturally, sketch comedians need to convey a variety of different characters, and the trio do this well: however, at times they do laugh at their own jokes and there is one section in the show where they apparently “get away from the sketches” for a bit and speak to the audience, which is frankly a little strange. I am particularly impressed with the way the group got past the problems that come with their venue: being part of the Free Fringe, their show does not necessarily lend itself to the venue. Rather than ignore the technical difficulties that not being able to have a blackout presents, the group have an “end sketch” device that works just as well, and is imaginatively incorporated into the ending of each of the sketches. The lighting is a little intense, but that is another issue associated with the venue, and they use musical sketches as entertaining cover between acting, as well as voiceovers within other sketches. Rory and Tim are a clever and witty group, who certainly know how to play to their strengths.

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