Friday, September 22, 2006

REVIEW: Little Britain (The Point, Dublin)

“Shut that door!” “I’m free!” “Mmm, betty!“ “I’ll get me coat!” "Are you local?" If you come in search of any of these catchphrases from the history of British comedy, you’ve come to the wrong place. If, on the other hand, you are looking for something more contemporary, along the lines of “…yeah, but, no, but…,” “computer says ‘no’” or “eh-eh-ehhhh!” then you is well lucky.

But catchphrase comedy has a relatively short lifespan and the clock is ticking for Matt Lucas, David Walliams and their extensive wardrobe of Edwardian frocks, skimpy plastic hot pants and sagging female fat suits. Clearly, it’s time to hit the road and hoover up some of the euros a zeitgeisty franchise can attract while the going is good.

And so, the lads arrive with a compilation of live sketches in which they adopt strange accents and pillory fat people, the elderly, foreigners, gays and, of course, Denis Waterman, while we are all zipped around Little Britain by an impressive video backdrop that threatens to be the star of the show.

As this is catchphrase comedy, it shouldn’t come as any surprise that there are more warm cheers of welcome from the packed house than there are actual laughs. The thundering applause for Bubbles (the obese “international glamourpuss,” played by Lucas) is inspired by the character’s appearance on stage as much as anything she says or does.

Oddly enough, when the lads fluff their familiar lines, and begin to chatter between themselves, they seem to stoke even more enthusiasm from the audience. Finally, it seems, we are getting to glimpse not just amiable monstrosities, like Daffyd, indissuadably the only gay in the village, but also Lucas and Walliams, the far more enigmatic characters who have created this fearsome bestiary of modern Britain.

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