EFR - Reviews of Talented and Single: Live at Wembley

Talented and Single: Live at Wembley

Sat 4th – Sat 18th August 2018

reviews

Millie Haswell

at 03:22 on 17th Aug 2018

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The absolute last thing that the Edinburgh Fringe needs is another knock off Zooey Deschanel – the ukulele playing, over-acting, kooky kitschy gal (or guy). Please welcome to the stage Katyana, half of the double act that make up Talented and Single.

The duo behind 'Talented and Single: Live at Wembly' centre their dynamic around Joe’s unrequited love for Katyana and her impatience with him; rather than being hilarious though, this just makes for a lack of chemistry between them onstage. The tension isn’t even that interesting to watch, manifesting itself in little tetchy put-downs about their song writing, joke telling or poem writing. A recurring gag is that "all of Joe’s songs sound the same." This may be true, but rather than prompting a laugh, this character tic merely makes the show monotonous as we sit through endless guitar renditions about feelings.

It doesn’t help that in order to "warm up" the audience, a scrappy terrier of a comedian is plopped onstage to rant about his insecurities for ten minutes. He plays numerous cards in order to garner sympathy laughs – being unhappy, considering himself unattractive, not having visited museums as a child. After bullying a couple of members of the audience (of course, he details how he was bullied as a child), 'Talented and Single' enter, continuing their uncomfortable ‘comedy’.

There are some good moments: Joe pulling out a mandolin and later a tiny violin is silly enough to prompt a laugh, and his kazoo playing isn’t bad. The audience participation is painful though, forced on us by the duo at the hideously early hour of 12:30 PM in an environment where every joke is founded in animosity and insecurity.

'Talented and Single' give the following tidbit about their show online: "Wanna see some good comedy? Then go to another show." And to be honest, this is probably sage advice.

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Georgina Macrae

at 09:34 on 17th Aug 2018

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From the title of the show, I expected something quite polished and snazzy. Instead, this is a simple, well-meaning comedy. The two actors are quite endearing, and their material is funny, but largely for its simplicity and bluntness, plus lots of jokes are made about its near-repetitive nature. It’s quite a nice, easy comedy: you don’t need to think much or wait much for laughs. I chuckled often, but I never guffawed.

The support act, Eric, tests some reasonable material. Commenting on society, what "working class" means, and insecurities, are all OK. I personally didn’t appreciate his jibes about Belgium, its chocolate, pastries, beer, and the war… but for testing-the-waters it was alright, and others definitely chuckled along with him.

Katyana and Joe depend on quite a large number of props, which are all good fun, if a bit reductive: using cue cards to get the audience singing creates a school sing-along atmosphere. It managed to be part charming as well as part foolish. I appreciated the audience engagement in their “interactive show”. The twenty-odd attendees all seemed to be rolling in laughs, and the laughs do keep coming, if they never really change in style. But how can the style be described, other than basic?

Basic comedy can be great – nothing confusing and everyone comprehends every joke. Katyana introduces her song as “like Eva Cassidy, but shit”: this is the type of joke the sketches are filled with. The duo often make a point of being unskilled or unprofessional, which battles with the event’s title, ‘Talented and Single’ and becomes predictable. Ukulele playing, limited to four chords; cardboard props which (following a warning) fell apart; depending upon a storm trooper notebook for cues, etc. Joking that one another’s songs are poorly written is funny until it becomes apparent that the simplicity is repeatedly the crux of the joke.

It’s good for anybody seeking a warm-up for a more memorable, feisty, or side-achingly funny event. It would remain funny if one were tipsy or really exhausted, so tired Fringe-goers might find this a welcome break from other louder things. I enjoyed “the dick pics song,” and the chemistry between the two is sweet. For childishness and young humour, try this show.

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