STAND UP COMEDY
Edinburgh Fringe 2018: Camels @ Underbelly
Comedy double-act Patrick McPherson and Zac Peel perform an hour-long series of short sketches at this year’s Fringe. They take on a hugely varied range of subject matter which includes dating difficulties, historical parodies, religion, the paranormal and sundry embarrassing real-life dilemmas.
This one kept me laughing through the majority of the hour without the material resorting to any cheap scatological humour, F-bombs or C-bombs (it’s a family-friendly show, guys). As with any double-act worth their salt, McPherson and Peel’s comedy arises from a series of chalk-and-cheese, love-hate, dominant-submissive style onstage relationships.
More to the point, there are a pleasing number of great, imaginative sketches here. A bee is jealous of a wasp. A father has a unique way of teaching his son a series of egg-related aphorisms. A mother reassures Judas after he admits to betraying Jesus to the Romans. The frictions underpinning a long-term friendship are laid bare by a disembodied, godlike voice. While some of the punchlines veer into “dad joke” territory, they work because of the duo’s impeccable sense of timing and straight, unforced delivery.
Not all of the sketches work quite as well as the aforementioned, an example being one involving a charity highlighting the plight of people who are unable to say the letter “e”. Sure, it’s an original idea but the end result comes across as being (at least from my subjective point of view) more clever-clever than particularly funny. Since none of these sketches last longer than a few short minutes, however, the show never really drags.
I get the distinct sense that we’ll be seeing more from this pair in years to come.
Tickets are available from the following link: