When performing in a venue the size of the average bedroom, there’s really no need to shout. Adjusting volume to venue is a pretty basic and -should be obvious- skill. Mid-Brow: The Live Show however, play their scenes as if on stage at the Lyceum. Add to that some even louder sound effects and some bad accents and this becomes somewhat of an assault on the eardrums.
Last year the comedy duo received some great reviews and with a slick, cool website and the prospect of the integration of multimedia in the piece, this appears to have promise. The big screen behind them lies dormant though for the first twenty minutes, which is a pity, as though the pair’s comic acting is fair, it’s not strong enough in this to sustain a really enjoyable full show. When the use of multimedia is employed it adds another dimension to what they’re doing and benefits the piece, but there’s a great deal of unexplored potential in its use.
Controversial topics such as terrorism and cancer research conspiracies are taken on, which is admirable, although inevitably risky and sometimes sails a little too close to the edge (Jamie Oliver is nicknamed ‘Jihadi Jamie’ at one point – a joke which he may know about and be fine with for all we know, but it does make the audience a little uneasy). They also briefly take on Brexit, but their leave/remain metaphor is weak, especially when up against some really strong and funny ones from many comics and sketch shows this year.
The Live Show is a sketch show among an ocean of sketch shows at the Fringe. Both players give confident performances with bags of energy and do get laughs from their audience, but would benefit from more subtlety. They’d also benefit from an accent coach – it’s not as though this is improvised, they’ve chosen, planned and rehearsed to give these characters the accents they have. But in the rest of their performance, there’s a sense that if they actually stopped trying quite so hard to impress and were a little more laid back in style, they would come across better – something the watchable clips on their website would seem to confirm.