Twonkey's Christmas in the Jungle

Thu 3rd – Sun 27th August 2017

reviews

Claire Leibovich

at 11:37 on 19th Aug 2017

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‘Twonkey’s Christmas in the Jungle’ will indeed introduce you into a jungle, but not in a good way. Indeed, the plotline (if there was such a thing in this show) was so chaotic and absurd that it became slightly annoying. The comedy relied mainly on nonsensical stories and songs, and on bizarre, sometimes handmade, props. Although some stories were comical, at times the absurdity became too much. There were some rare wholehearted giggles, but some of the audience members looked bewildered. On the whole, Paul Vickers seemed to make himself laugh more than he made us laugh.

The main problem seemed to be awkward interactions between the performer and the audience. Some stories might have been funny, but Vickers’ delivery failed to make them so. Personally I found him to be almost a bit agressive at times. Few laughed wholeheartedly and many jokes fell flat. He would ask for audience participation and then react awkwardly when there was an unexpected reaction, as if you had disrupted the show. I do not recommend the first two or three rows if you do not like to have your personal space invaded. Indeed, the space is limited and when Vickers made his way through the chairs I constantly feared he would fall on me. He also touches audience members with props, and I did not appreciate being filmed without having been asked for my permission.

There is not much more to say about Paul Vickers’ one-man show. It felt like witnessing someone go cuckoo on his own, which was kind of sad. Personal eccentricity is not enough to make a good show and Vickers should have thought about what an audience wants (and especially what it would dislike). He made me laugh at him rather than with him, and maybe that is the point, yet it is still not enough. Creating comedy is a lot harder than just piling up random, crazy stories. This kind of humour was certainly not to my taste, but it might just be your cup of tea.

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Simona Ivicic

at 18:35 on 19th Aug 2017

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The venue of 'Twonkey’s Christmas in the Jungle' is just as quirky as Paul Vickers himself. With his long fake nose and plastic hair on he announces that we have arrived in a hallucinogenic jungle where we meet an incredible range of frankensteined characters, from the Christmas Pudding Spider to Sue the Shellfish - you really have no idea what he might bring out next. Just to clarify the weirdness of these props, picture this if you can: a duck with a removable head, gorilla arms, human arms and some other unidentifiable objects stuck to it, that has a talent for pretending to eat glass. His extraordinary range of puppets are simply ridiculous, yet somehow he brings them to life and makes us actually care for these weirdos on his hands - it is pure madness.

To be very honest it is absurd to see a grown man pull out these deformed toys and parade them as though it was one big act of show and tell. At times the song and dance he’d create around these toys seemed a little immature and quite frankly pointless. Vickers’ very niche sense of humour is not particularly to my liking as the jokes tended to rely on the basic principle of telling a peculiar story and showing a peculiar invention to gain some laughs. There is nothing particularly witty or clever about his jokes - they are quite literally just a series of random bits and bobs. However, there were certainly those in the audience who would beg to differ and without a doubt there were moments of comedic brilliance. But personally, those moments were few and far apart.

This show is nothing if not original. Vickers playfully interacts with the crowd and involves them in ways that are not too personal and vicious but are charmingly funny and generally a bit of light hearted fun. Vickers’ own on the spot jokes are perhaps the funniest in the show. The final song demonstrated this the best. All caught up in his ropes, netting, and microphone cords he falls over and resorts to blasting out his final tune from the stage stairs. This unfortunate series of events were the epitome of the show and prove that these moments of stand up are the ones to look out for, as Vickers is clearly very naturally funny without the gimmicks.

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