Last Updated on Saturday, 14 May 2011 12:14
T&B have simply hit upon a formula that works
Scotsgay They are back, thank God. Topping & Butch are a comedy double act ike no other and so it’s a huge relief to see them here at the fringe with their own show – their first since 2006. They have lost none of their satirical edge. And although the boys have spurned the red S&M leather uniforms of old, they are still delightfully queer.
T&B have simply hit upon a formula that works; camp bitchiness directed at worthy targets. The lyrics of their signature song, Never Mind – updated daily to reflect the news – cover the Iraq war, MPs expenses and even the Edinburgh trams fiasco. The Lily Allen routine was as biting as it was joyous. They also find time for some self deprecating moments too and some reflecting, comically of course, on the nature of gay love.
And who else would end an act taking the piss out of ... Well buy a ticket and see for yourself. It’s a real show stopper.
Kate Copstick, The Scotsman ****
Delightfully dangerous stuff
The Scotsman WELL talc me up and slip me into rubber, the May and December partnershop trollies back to Edinburgh and they are, quite possibly, the best they have ever been. The whole punk thing is, of course, just a chance for the two to dress up as heterosexuals and attempt to look belligerent. That is, as expected, about as convincing as J-Lo insisting she is just ‘Jenny From the Block’. It is however, very funny.
The perennial favourite, ‘Never Mind’ – a topical ditty along the lines of Mock the Week, but without the obvious editing and sense of desperation to get your line in first – is cleverer than I have ever heard it. A version of My Favourite Things about MP expenses might not be cutting edge but it gets more laughs out of the debacle than many other comics at the Fringe. Butch’s flirt with Our Boys in Iraq is delightfully dangerous stuff (Scott Capurro had better look to his laurels). The Streatham Lullaby is a sour sweetie, Harriet Harman gets the full top hat and sequinned tails treatment, Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off becomes a gay/straight interpretation thing and there is a fabulous love song which touched the hearts of all of us who have enjoyed the variable pleasures of a much younger partner.
Lily Allen fans should be aware that Topping and Butch do not share your taste. You might think their triptych of Lily parodies evil, I’d say firm but fair. And very funny. The finale does for ‘I Dreamed a Dream’ something even Susan Boyle couldn’t do.
Oliver Jack, Broadway Baby ****
These fringe veterans keep the packed-out audience roaring for 60 minutes
Broadway Baby With a two year break from the Festival and multiple sell-out shows across the country and globe, one can only get a little excited about the limited run announced by Topping & Butch this year in Edinburgh. I’m not sure what is it about these guys, but from the high-energy entrance music, right till the end with a rousing Susan Boyle finale – these fringe veterans keep the packed-out audience roaring for 60 minutes.
This year’s content once again picks up on the duo’s “mix of politics and news” – but what stands out is the material is so up to the minute – whereas a lot of comedy acts stop writing in July – the writing in this show is as current as events that happened merely hours ago.
For those who know T&B’s work intimately – there is the welcome return of “Never Mind, Never Mind” – victims this year include David Beckham, Hilary Clinton, Kerry Katona and Tom Daley – as well as a whole new version of “Little Baby” – now known as “The Streatham Lullaby”. Other highlights of the show include the credit crunch, the expenses scandal, pig flu, Harriet Harman and a rather amusing drive by the two entertainers to get Lilly Allen to represent Scotland at the next Eurovision (yes Scotland – for a newfound political voting advantage).
For those of you who have never heard of Topping & Butch, or indeed their legacy that now firmly cements them as part of the furniture at the Fringe should wander down to York Street and see what the fuss is about. It is quite simply an hour of heart warmingly irreverent and painfully funny bliss.
With a twist, a twizzle and a huge chunk of lemon
One4Review At last Topping and Butch are back even if they are ‘Twisted’! Gone are the sexy leather, latex bondage looks we now have Two Camp Punk-Skinheads.
Despite starting with their classic opening number ‘Never Mind’ which changes nightly anyway Topping and Butch are back with a brand new show and 100% new material. Subjects covered include the difference between Punk’s and Skinheads, MP’s expenses, Gordon Brown, the Trams, a lullaby and inevitably the now infamous Susan Boyle. For some strange reason the size of Butch’s feet are mentioned occasionally.
It may have been three years since the boys were here but if the sell out preview night is anything to go by Topping and Butch are back with a vengeance. The audience was about half and half and all up for a great nights comedy, which is what they got.
For up-to-date topical humour with a twist, a twizzle and a huge chunk of lemon, catch Topping and Butch during their short run at The Stand 3.
Quick-witted, satirical songs
ThreeWeeks This unlikely duo pleases their largely fan-based audience with risqué songs and political mockery, and it's with a charming campness that they discuss current affairs, from the expenses scandal to swine flu. Accurate and so up-to-date that if you hadn’t read the paper this morning you’d wish you had, their quick-witted, satirical songs are appropriated to ridicule a long list of people in the public eye.
Topping’s song about single, teenage mums from Streatham pushes all the possible boundaries. This pair of intelligent and talented musicians make a great double act, and they don’t fail to fit in an abundance of usual, crass homosexual references. If you want to ‘oooh’, ‘tut’ and laugh out loud, then this show is for you.
British Theatre Guide ****
Clever and well worth the attention
British Theatre Guide The shaven headed twosome return with a whopper of a show, fitted out as punks, complete with mohawks and braces, they assault the crowds with a new batch of songs filled with sly insults aimed cheerfully at everyone from Harriet Harmon to Lily Allen.
Taking the audience very much in hand, the pair gleefully wisecrack about their sexuality and muse on such subjects as the way straight men talk and current events. One of the most refreshing things about Topping and Butch is the manner in which the show retains a haphazard thrown together feel despite the practised nature of the music. The two men genuinely seem to be having as much fun as the audience and repeatedly set each other off into fits of giggles at their improvised jokes; the hearty barrel-load of laughs are as much caused by their smiles and easy manner as by their crafty tongues and fingers. Clever and well worth the attention.
A delicious comedy double
Hairline Topping and Butch are a delicious comedy double, one an older, chubby male the other a bald, muscled younger man. When looking at them you wouldn’t think it but these two have made a brilliant comedy team over the years, embracing their camp sense of humour upon the eager crowd. Yes, these boys are gayer than a hand bag full of rainbows and they are proud of it, flirting with the straight men in the crowd, performing pop ditties or falling about laughing at private jokes between them. These two are endlessly watchable and bring a warm and invigorating on stage personae that have every member unable to take their eyes off them.
Focussing on current topics no issue is taboo: from Susan Boyle, Lilly Allen, swine flue, ex partners, Hilary Clinton, David Beckham, Eurovision, MPs expenses right through to the credit crunch, these boys discuss so many subjects you might not think they would have enough time to squeeze in enough jokes but you would be wrong as these two are hysterical.
They are also gifted with some impressive singing voices, especially Michael Topping who has a powerful voice singing such fun little tunes as ‘The Streatham’ lullaby and ‘Never mind’ especially, leaves a big impression. They juggle just the right amount of politics, songs, banter and jokes to please everyone in the crowd and judging by the big grins on all those around they are all in agreement.
This is but also a show, highly recommended.