After a break of over three years, these two stalwarts of BBC radio comedy are back on the road, pointing to the title of their show as their motivation.
Live appearances may have taken a back seat, but in the intervening years, Hugh Dennis has been very gregarious, what with Mock the Week’s continued success and the sitcom Outnumbered,while Steve Punt has been similarly clubbable behind the camera, pursuing numerous writing projects.
This latest live outing sees The Now Show duo offer up more of that show’s kind of material: light satire and scenes of mild silliness. While you won’t catch Dennis doing the “milky, milky” catchphrase from his days in The Mary Whitehouse Experience, he’s happy to reprise his velociraptor walk to the enjoyment of a crowd who seem largely pleased by this overlong show.
The Punt & Dennis dynamic is a curious one. Writer, and seemingly reluctant performer, Punt, spends the first half poring over a clipboard, volleying observations on British life in the style of a low-energy Eric Idle for the taught and tall show-off Dennis to illustrate with a sound effect, impression or short observation. Punt notes that many pubs are named after two unrelated items, so Dennis drunkenly rolls around the title “Dog and Trumpet” to illustrate it.
Itself as limp as a resting marionette, the show’s first half contains a seemingly endless series of spoofed surveys and exploded foibles (including fancy crisps and male cosmetics) and finishes with a botched song about cowboy builders that seems to come out of nowhere.
The odd chucklesome flash (two pundits at the forthcoming royal wedding remarking on how many of the family are in military regalia, including Prince Harry who is implied to have donned his Nazi costume again) cannot, for me, gulf the credibility gap that has opened up over two hours of standard fare.
Touring to 6 Mar (www.rbmcomedy.com)