OFTEN CRASS AND ALWAYS FUNNY
SCIRT WORLD BUSKERS FESTIVAL|
SAMMY J & RANDY
PRESENTED BY INGHAM
at The Press CLUB - BUSKER PARK, Christchurch
From 23 Jan 2013 to 26 Jan 2013
Reviewed by Erin Harrington, 24 Jan 2013
Sammy J is skinny, slightly startled looking and a dab hand on the electric piano. Randy is an ordinary Aussie bloke, if being a fuzzy purple puppet counts as ordinary. Together they work through a fairly suspect 19th century encyclopaedia of comedic principles, dabbling in word play, puns, and dirty jokes, as they bicker their way through a swiftly paced one hour show.
These gags and diversions provide the context for the core of the show: comic songs, belted out with irreverent glee. The songs explore fairly banal activities such as getting an ice cream, sleeping, filling out census forms, and driving, but they push the everyday subject matter to a place of absurdity – and often schadenfreude. The lyrics are slick and intelligent, and the music itself is well-written and executed with aplomb.
Sammy J and Randy have a convincingly abrasive love-hate relationship, the sort that comes from a long term flatting situation that neither party can afford to get away from. Their domestic annoyances and their seeming inability to function with (or without) one other makes for a strong, character-driven double act that provides a solid foundation for the show's silliness. Their finely honed repartee seems effortless, as does the assured and pointed way that they interact with the audience.
This sharp timing and lightning pace is all the more impressive when you consider that the two performers – Sammy J and puppeteer Heath McIvor – can't actually see one another. McIvor's energetic performance is an absolute joy and, even though the façade is occasionally and purposefully broken, Randy is a wholly credible entity in his own right (and a mighty fine dancer).
The show is often crass and always funny, and will certainly be considered to be a highlight of the World Buskers Festival.
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