Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Comedy Fest review: Cardinal Burns


I feel a bit like the comedy version of Scrooge when I dismiss this likeable UK pair's inaugural Melbourne outing. It does remind me of Tiny Tim, though: short and lame. Unlike Tiny Tim there's no crutch here, which might be part of the problem – this is just a series of sketches with no sense of coherence and, in many cases, no internal motivation, either.

At its worst, for example, there's a send-up of kid's TV in which a skivvied presenter interacts with a vaguely adults-only cat puppet. But from the premise things go exactly nowhere. The cat doesn't really get that blue, the presenter doesn't seem put out in any way, and nothing resembling a shift in the scenario occurs. This is typical of most of the sketches – the setup is the gag, and none of the sequences actually develop. In a way this is an interesting choice and if there is a common element running throughout the show it's the boring and quotidian presented in the style of a comedy skit without actually being injected with any humour. I certainly didn't feel irked at all during the hour and chuckled along at some characterisations, and the duo themselves have a warm presence. I guess it's like staring into the fire on a cold winter's night – you appreciate the feeling, but won't be reliving the best moments in weeks to come.

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