Laurence and Gus Men in Love, Pleasance Upstairs, Edinburgh
Breezy affair of the heart takes heat out of a frenzied Fringe
Monday 09 August 2004
Laurence and Gus look set to become an afternoon Fringe fixture. Their solidly acted but gently surreal brand of humour is a convivial way to spend tea-time, an amusing breather before wading into the frenzied, random jamboree that is the Fringe in the evening.
As with last year's afternoon show A History of the World in Five and A Half Sketches, Men In Love is a breezy affair, which is especially welcome given that, at least temperature-wise, you are sitting in one of the hottest venues on the Fringe.
The Dead Ringers co-writer Laurence Howarth is the vulnerable, earnest member of the duo while Gus Brown is the over-confident salesman, a combination through which men's foibles in the face of love are effectively portrayed. Though the opening sketch, tied up at the end, suggests a classic exploration of the unanswerable question "What do women want?", the show explores the title theme more broadly. We have love in the eyes of a stalker, Crusader Knights, pretending not to vie for the hand of a princess, and a Greek mythology mélange on the link between marriage and foliage. This is nice comedy in that it is nicely written with a measured sprinkling of one-liners and pop-culture references, nicely paced. You leave, not with aching sides, but with a smile on your face.
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