Wednesday, 11 August 2010

FESTIVAL REVIEW: The Roaring Boys Will Set You Free

The Roaring Boys Will Set You Free * * * *
The Underbelly
5-29 August (except 17 and 24)

Admittedly, when the Fringe Guide was released this year, I scoured the plethora of adverts and listings in hopes of finding the return of the guys that did Tim: Against All Odds during last year’s festival. That was a highlight of my August 2009, the kind of show that makes you love this time of year as it takes you by surprise in the late afternoon, and when you think you’re too jaded to sit through any more tired and unwitting acts, the next thing you know you’re giddy despite yourself and exiting the venue with the act's stickers, signs and sweets.

I almost gave up but then stumbled upon The Roaring Boys. Yes! There they are, my old pals! And it’s like deja vous- the same venue, on the same row, only this time with quite great expectations. And I can’t help myself, I still can’t get enough.

The theme of the act this year is funny enough as Danny and Jonny, with their expensive banners, aim to ‘set you free’and Stop the One Show. You know, the one on BBC One that features topics like ‘Hardeep Singh Kohli wears dresses’ or insert-celeb-name-here ‘tells the history of pate.’ These boys have had enough of time-wasting telly and are campaigning for its demise.

The mission takes many nonsensical, and therefore hilarious, detours: girlfriend stealer and tall man Robert (tall, very tall) tauntingly appears and reappears, an ode to French grandparents is sung at an awkward intermission and sis Clare/Jonny declares herself ‘a poorly conceived character’

And when the mission is on the right track (ish), there are truly bril songs (‘we are the roaring boys and you are the people who were paid to come and see our show’), the obligatory audience participation aids in constructing a bomb (Stop the One Show plan A) from a watch and a shoe (a gun is produced in the form of a Fringe guide), and the talk of transporting poo only to smear it on the BBC walls as plan B of operation Set You Free.

The sequence of varied, bizarre events is swift, the wit, sharp and the quantity of kooky, just right. As I still carry their catchy tunes in my head, I look forward to next year's laughs from this endearing duo.

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