Punt & Dennis: Ploughing on Regardless, comedy review

Hexagon Theatre, Reading

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The Independent Culture

At first glance the drudgery conjured by Punt & Dennis' tour title suggests stalwarts trudging on in spite of tepid live reviews, rather than the nod to the chilly British winter that is explained by the duo's promotional blurb.

Whether there is a double meaning or not, the latest foray of Radio 4's hardy perennials is, sadly, a return to this lukewarm form. Eminently affable and reassuringly inconsequential, Punt and Dennis dance a measured, stately, and no frills waltz through the well documented attitudes, habits and foibles of Middle England.

With the ever clipboard-clasping Steve Punt playing apologetic puppeteer/narrator to Hugh Dennis' frisky, sharp-suited clown, the pair open by surfing through the idiosyncrasies of digital TV channels. “What is Gay Rabbit?”, they ask. Towards the end of the show they range through another list, but this time on the less obvious - and by consequence more rewarding - target of how European countries celebrated the signing of the Treaty of Rome: “in Denmark they gave away free buns!”

In between the British attitudes towards under-performing in sport and to the urgency of building work are among familiar topics given a workout without being stretched.

Other safe ground involves the often self-parodying certification of films. Applied to their own show, one would have to go with 'warning: contains scenes of mild incredulity'.

Tours until February 28