Bodell and Maxwell’s Chromatic Character Menagerie
A mixed bag from a double act going nowhere fast
This article is from 2015.
Losing your audience halfway through the first sketch of your show isn't an ideal start. You'd be cold-hearted not to feel for Shamus Maxwell as that's exactly what happens in his opening skit about a clueless heavy metal fan that could be funny if it was half the length and twice as snappy. Sympathy laughs can only be stretched out for so long.
Nothing really improves on Maxwell's part. He has a hard time engaging with the audience, something his partner (although they never appear onstage together) Laura Bodell has no problem with, employing a bit of Adam Riches-style determination when selecting audience members to join her onstage. Her characters are layered, each with a dark streak running through them, giving the hour some much-needed edge.
Maxwell, however, has lost all confidence, and attempts an improvised story which is a disaster. Forgetting the rule that sketch comedy needs a clear beginning, middle and end, he bumbles through two tales that bring nothing to the table, before bottling it altogether and wrapping up abruptly, not a punchline in sight. Laura Bodell has the ability to be really funny, but the sad truth is that she’s being held back in this double act.
Cowgatehead, 226 0000, until 29 Aug (not 25), 8.45pm, free.