Toulson and Harvey back at Fringe 2010 with new show
Friends reunited after a three-year absence from Edinburgh
This article is from 2010.
After a three-year absence, Toulson and Harvey are ready to take Edinburgh by storm again. Brian Donaldson hears how an unlucky break kept them away
When Luke Toulson and Stephen Harvey gained a spot on the last ever Perrier Best Newcomer list in 2005, it seemed the double act would be set for big things. Their fellow nominees that year included Mark Watson and Rhod Gilbert, with Tim Minchin walking away with the prize. After a couple more years consolidating their success, lady luck decided the time was then right to pull a fast one on the pair, with Harvey being struck down with a serious back injury, the result of which meant a two-year period of recuperation, leaving his comedy partner to plough a solo furrow.
Presumably, Toulson (those with kids may have spotted him as the human in CBeebies programme Space Pirates) will have shown great sympathy for his comedy cohort? ‘The problem here was the boy who cried wolf,’ says Toulson, who also has his own solo show this year, Sorry About Last Night. ‘What you need to understand is that Steve is a massive hypochondriac and has been ever since I’ve known him, so when he said, “Ah, I’ve broken my back”, I was like, “Yeah, whatever”. But unfortunately he had broken his back.’ A bemused Harvey retorts: ‘Didn’t me crawling on the floor give you a clue?’ Toulson is having none of it: ‘I just thought you were milking it; I don’t think I was nearly as sympathetic as I would be if it happened now.’
Though their reunion show is called Toulson and Harvey Used to Be Friends, their separation wasn’t the crockery-throwing event that this title might suggest. It’s merely a ploy to explore the concept of relationships and what goes wrong when one half feels betrayed by the other. Among the duos will be Jesus and Judas (‘Judas is now working in an all-night garage while Jesus has got pretty big,’ says Toulson), two Austrian childhood friends, a lion and a Christian going into the coliseum and a barmaid having a one-night stand with a man who may or may not be an alien.
‘Name one famous double act and you’ll find people falling out,’ says Toulson. ‘David Baddiel said the worst thing about being in a double act was having to tell your friend that their idea is shit.’ Harvey counters: ‘You’ve never found that hard. But it’s not just double acts, it’s friendships; any friendship where people have known each other for a decade will have had their ups and downs and that’s what we’re exploring, the way people interact and what happens when you’ve been together for a while.’ Break a leg, lads, but nothing else.
Toulson and Harvey, Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, 7–30 Aug (not 16), 5.10pm, £8.50–£9.50 (£7–£8). Previews 4–6 Aug, £5; Luke Toulson, Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, 7–30 Aug (not 16), 10.45pm, £7.50–£8.50 (£6–£7). Previews 4–6 Aug, £5.