KEITH. presents KEVIN.

Wed 8th – Sun 19th August 2018

reviews

Andrew Jameson

at 09:42 on 13th Aug 2018

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'KEITH. presents KEVIN' is a fun and ridiculous comedy sketch show. It flicks quickly between a range of sketches from a horse doctor to Scooby Doo and a drug dealer, while also featuring quirky songs and a poetry corner. Apparently the name of the show is a honey-trap to find a Keith or Kevin in the wild, and it's this kind of quirky humour that can be expected from the show. (If you're curious – as I was – they still haven't found one at the Fringe).

The humour is sharp and random. I particularly enjoyed a scene involving the Pied Piper attempting to explain his plans for the week. His nonchalant reassurance that, unlike the rats he's serenading, he's not going to drown the kids - "that would be weird" - is a brilliant moment.

A confrontation between Noah and a friend as to why Noah hasn't alerted him of the impending flood is clever. The friend's conclusion that it's because he didn't take Noah with him to a 20th birthday party is a fun direction which I thoroughly enjoyed. I also appreciated the poignant Chucklevision-themed haiku that was included in Poetry Corner.

There were, however, some flatter moments when the punchlines don't quite land or match the level of the preceding jokes. The idea of a waiting competition was amusing and initially well executed, however it wasn't really developed beyond the initial premise which meant the ending lacked a certain punch. At one point this was directly commented upon - at the end of a batman (or "manbat") sketch concluding with the group admitting that they struggled with the ending - and so they used the difficulty to their witty advantage.

There also seemed to be a few slips with pacing – there was a succession of very quick sketches near the start which created a rather jumpy tone, while the occasional scene would start to go on for a bit. This combination meant the show seemed to lack a certain unity.

However, 'KEITH. presents KEVIN.' is held together by a trio (Alex Taylor, Mungo Russell and George Tarling) who are clearly very skilled performers. They bring a great energy to the sketches and work well together, and I found Mungo to be particularly engaging.

'KEITH. presents KEVIN.' is brilliantly ridiculous. While it may suffer occasionally from poorer punchlines or pacing issues, it remains a fun show that is well worth your time.

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Siobhan Stack-Maddox

at 10:49 on 13th Aug 2018

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Bouncing onto the stage dressed in neon shorts to New Order's 'Blue Monday', 'KEITH. presents KEVIN.' opens the show by eagerly asking if there are any "Keiths" or "Kevins" in the audience. As they go on to explain that this is the sole reason behind the show's title, I am as disappointed as they are that there aren't any in this afternoon's audience at The Place, but the sheer silliness of this gets their first laugh from the audience.

'KEITH. Presents KEVIN.' mixes satirical and silly, student humour. An overarching historical and political theme and a recurring interlude of a James Bond unable to give his own infamous introduction give the piece structure. But otherwise it's a hilarious and surreal mash-up, with some sketches only comprising a couple of lines succeeding in making the audience giggle.

As well as daft, surreal humour, including a horse doctor and patient role reversal and Batman's school reunion party, there is sharp, daring wit in this show which pushes boundaries. There's a Persil advertisement, in which three presenters try to dodge political correctness pitfalls when promoting a laundry product exclusively for white items of clothing and a poker-playing Irish priest. Other highlights for me included the sketches about an uncle who fought in the Vietnam War, whose PTSD is triggered by board game names, and English soldiers practicing their GCSE French and planning to chat about the World Cup to avoid having to go into battle with the Normans.

The trio might not be the most polished group at the Fringe, and some sketches are definitely weaker than others, but KEITH. are very likeable and establish a good rapport with their audience. Speaking to Mungo Russell on the Mile, he explained how they had been tweaking the show according to audiences' reactions during their run at the Fringe. The show often feels like they're figuring it out as they go along, but they use this unfinished quality to their advantage, creating meta moments of self-awareness and direct commentary on the performance, and more often than not, getting in another gag or two. I appreciated the effective use of music between sketches, with song excerpts carefully chosen to comment on the previous sketch.

KEITH.'s enthusiasm is infectious and they clearly want the audience to enjoy the show. There's not even the suggestion of a fourth wall, with audience members being asked to help the trio with their costumes within minutes of the show beginning and later participating in a "Waiting Game" TV show sketch. The trio have a good dynamic, bouncing off each other effectively, but Russell is evidently the star of the show, bringing the greatest energy and charisma to the stage.

The jokes and banter with the audience don't even stop during the bows, with an anecdote about milking cows being used to persuade the audience to put some money in the donation bucket. An hour well-spent at this Free Fringe event, KEITH. certainly brightened up my rainy Sunday afternoon and left a smile on my face.

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