Mid-Brow: The Live Show
A disappointing follow-up to a strong sketch debut
This article is from 2016.
It's often been said that a second Fringe show is way harder than a debut. After all, whether you're a solo stand-up or part of a sketch team, you arguably have years of material to choose from for your first attempt in August, whereas a follow-up needs to be knocked out and chucked into shape across less than a year. It's a theory which might actually hold some water when you consider the success that sketch duo Alex Cooper and Tom Blackwood experienced with their Mid-Brow debut, as you set it against a disappointingly hollow sequel. In a Counting House sweatbox, it's a mild form of flashback torture to hear the This is Your Life theme tune on a loop even before the action has got started, but sadly the routines don't alleviate the psychological pain. There are some decent ideas here (the sequence where our live actors discuss the Euros of 1314 with a filmed William Wallace is neatly pulled off) but too many bits fizzle out unsatisfyingly (and the friends talking like newsreaders routine would surely have been culled had they superior options to hand).
Cooper and Blackwood certainly throw everything into their performances but the writing has let them down this time around. A stock-taking and re-evaluation might be in order if they are to conceive of a third shot next year.
Gilded Balloon at the Counting House, until 29 Aug, 7.30pm, £5 or Pay What You Want.