Tom and Will's Open Swim
A screeching maelstrom of mayhem drowns in its own lunacy
This article is from 2016.
There's no denying a powerful commitment to the comedy cause in Tom and Will's Open Swim. The titular duo also make a neat contrast with Tom Greaves initially bringing an actorly archness to proceedings before crumbling into the slapstick chaos which finally ensues, while Will Hartley delivers the kind of wide-eyed lunacy which he brought to sketch trio Clever Peter.
Not only do Greaves and Hartley come from different showbiz backgrounds, they're also rather different physical specimens, and the comedy here often plays on this divergence: Greaves is buff, toned and tall, Hartley is sweating, hairy and squat. This set-up is fine, but the material they have given themselves to play with is a mishmash of grotesquery which ultimately becomes a little infuriating. And shouting the lines as loudly as possible only really draws attention to the paucity of the raw ingredients they're working with.
Against a backdrop of increasing mayhem, the pair concoct a series of unlikely and obtuse characters around the central story of a swim competition during which aquatic legend Tom Hiddleston (Greaves' apparent arch nemesis) needs to be taken down. Amid icky tales of a disgusting yoghurt drink, frightening sexual abuse, and noisy pig effects (the statutory Cameron gag appears eventually), the ludicrous plot collapses under a heft of nonsense Greaves and Hartley certainly have a dynamic that could well produce something stronger in the future but they're drowning in a sea of mundanity here.
Pleasance Courtyard, run ended.