Comedy / Parsons and Naylor's The Merry Onions of Dorking

Parsons and Naylor's The Merry Onions of Dorking at the East Dulwich Tavern, London SE22 (0181-299 4138), tonight and the Hen and Chickens, London N1 (0171-704 2001) Mon.

In their last show, the gloriously titled Two Giddy Kippers, Andy Parsons and Henry Naylor ran through a "Stars on 45"-type hits compilation on Fisher Price toys. It climaxed with Naylor picking out "Purple Haze" on a baby guitar with his teeth. These men are just plain silly.

Naylor, who plays opposite Rowan Atkinson in those eminently dopey credit card ads, is proud of the duo's daftness. "We Brits are a rather staid lot," he reckons, "and we need an outlet for our giggles. The British are the only ones who can really do it. Look at Mr Bean. What a clever idea to make something you can show on every airline around the world."

The silliness looks set to continue in MI5 Entertainment Division, the new sitcom Parsons and Naylor are writing for LWT. "Graham Greene and Peter Ustinov were spies during the Second World War," Naylor observes, "so we thought, `Who would be the spies from the entertainment world now?' We've got Tony Gubba as a James Bond-like spy, and we're calling the character Gary Gubba - he'll never work out who it's based on.

"We have children's presenters like Q who can invent anything from sticky- back plastic. We wanted to make it very, very silly. Monty Python wrote the silliest sketch-show ever. We wanted to write the silliest sitcom ever. The Young Ones started it in the early 1980s, but nobody has followed it up."

In the live arena, they are working up their double-act for Edinburgh in a new show entitled The Merry Onions of Dorking. "We took our favourite three silly words and made a sentence out of them," Naylor reveals. As before, the schtick will centre on the pair bickering. "Those points of difference are where you get the best jokes," Naylor opines. "You need that conflict to spark. It's just what Morecambe and Wise did. We used to do a lot of characters in wigs, but if you can crack chatting to each other, the audience warm to you. You become like two mates of theirs down the pub."

EYE ON THE NEW

Ben Moor, an original performer, returns with a typically quirky show directed by Hamish McColl called Twelve, based on the idea of a man fleeing round the world from a nuisance phone-caller. Hen and Chickens, London N1 (0171- 704 2001), from 7 Jul to 2 Aug (not Mondays)

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