Burns and Moore are young and their inexperience should not form the basis of a critique but it is undeniable that they would have benefited from work-shopping this material before committing to Edinburgh. As a duo the pair should complement each other but apart from the well-rehearsed children’s party gags and a profusion of puns there is very little meat to this sketch sandwich.
Burns performs with vigour and an engaging demeanour which perfectly suits the material he and his partner have written and when he plays to his strengths he hits the spot more often than not; his wolf negotiating an alternate meal with his prey is a particular highlight. Moore seems subdued and is markedly less demonstrative with line delivery and for some sections of the show he is essentially a straight man such is his lack of effervescence.
A focus upon structure and establishing characters seems to have been prioritised in place of actual insightful observations and accompanying gags. One Lord of the Rings sketch features a telegraphed gag about the ring that serves to undermine the punchline and is followed by a pregnant pause of confusion before the audience politely applauds to provide the missing full stop. A sketch ruminating on the origins of football chants is torpedoed by its unsubtle eighties critique of fans and using the names of players that have long since left the England team.
Sketch shows have a storied history on the Fringe but not every troupe will have the virtuosity of Michael Palin or the gifted absurdity of Rowan Atkinson. A certain level of acting prowess is helpful to avoid an alienating recitation of lines which may be familiar to the performers but are new and strange to the audience. However, some of the smaller venues seem to restrict performers who cannot adjust to the imposition of a lack of stage and enforced intimacy.