EFR - Reviews of Planet Caramel: Rotations in Flavour Space

Planet Caramel: Rotations in Flavour Space

Thu 2nd – Sun 26th August 2018

reviews

Marie-Louise Wohrle

at 01:56 on 10th Aug 2018

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'Planet Caramel: Rotations in Flavour Space' is a quick-fire, high-energy, late-night sketch show that is definitely worth a visit. The trio of Alex Harwood, David Blair and Richard Duffy are clearly on the same comedic wavelength and know how to bring out the silliest in each other. The fast beat of the sketches and quick succession of jokes within each sketch helps capture the audience’s attention immensely, and their jokes cater to a variety of tastes.

It is hard to resist the silliness of 'Planet Caramel', and the joy its actors bring onstage. From Queen Elizabeth’s most memorable knighting experience to the most unexpected funeral experience of the Fringe, sketches rarely feel repetitive and the audience keeps being surprised by new twists. Their comedic timing is fantastic, and their performance generally polished.

Some of the sketches in 'Planet Caramel: Rotations in Flavour Space' very much towed the line of what I at least am comfortable laughing about, and parts of the audience seemed to agree with me. But even outside the riskier sketches, the group struggles to get some audience members, especially in the back, to fully enjoy the show and get on board with their humour. Still, the majority of the audience is at the very least smiling most of the time.

The concept of “a sketch a minute” that the group builds on can easily make a show feel disjointed and chaotic. However, in 'Planet Caramel' the chaos is managed through callbacks to earlier scenes and reoccurring characters, as well as through “cleaning intermissions”, which allow the audience (and probably also the performers) to take a breath. Even with the “breaks”, I still felt overwhelmed by the amount of content squished into 52 minutes: this definitely made it harder to enjoy the creativity of the show.

Overall, the three-man-show holds its own amongst sketch shows at the Fringe, and provides an hour of fun and silly evening entertainment. The quantitative approach to jokes does mean that anyone looking for comedy that makes them think or lets them explore new ideas is in the wrong place. It also means that jokes get lost or suffer in quality. Regardless, the hour is filled with entertainment, a little bit of audience interaction, and quirky characters, and will leave you feeling more energetic and happy than you were before.

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Charlie Norton

at 10:50 on 10th Aug 2018

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'Planet Caramel: Rotations in Flavour Space' - the collective brainchild of Alex Harwood, David Blair and Richard Duffy - delivers from the outset, as the late-night crowd is greeted by bopping hips and futuristic beats. What follows is a surreal, sweaty and strangely sexy hour of near light-speed comedy sketches delivered with genuine enjoyment and skill.

Aesthetically, Planet Caramel combine their neon Mod glasses with zany hairstyles and mock-sultry dance moves reminiscent of The Mighty Boosh. This establishes a quirky-cool vibe which serves the Surrealist material well.

Standout sketches for me included ‘Sexy Maths’, which combines unpretentious nerdiness and unbridled physical comedy, whilst ‘Fat Eyes’ brings everyone to their feet to join in with the trios’ hilarious boogieing. Special credit must go to Blair for the tact with which he delivers the ‘Raising Money for Cancer’ gag, which had some members of the audience, myself included, literally screaming with laughter.

The generally inventive scenes conjured by 'Planet Caramel' are bolstered by a range of bizarre sound effects, well-timed voice recordings and diverse music, all impeccably executed. When paired with masterfully chosen novelty props, as in the visually absurd ‘Wild West Shootout’ sketch, the outcome is truly other worldly.

Considering the imaginative strength of the trio, I was frustrated to see them lapse into frantically tongueing one another in a pantomime fashion several times throughout the production. This is a slightly thoughtless move which implies that there is some sort of inherent comedy in homosexuality. However, this slip is largely concealed by the pace of the show, which enables any slightly flat jokes to be brushed over in favour of revelling in the joyous and alien environment of the space.

Ultimately, 'Planet Caramel: Rotations in Flavour Space' is a rhythmic and well-executed show perfectly suited to a late-night crowd. Harwood, Blair and Duffy propel the audience out into a space of their own, creating a riotous world full of bizarre and exciting characters. Oh, and you get a complimentary caramel wafer – what’s not to like?!

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