Short & Curly: Young at Start

What do you get when CBBC meets SNL? 

Short & Curly: Young at Start

Young at Start is structured around Paul’s (Curly’s) fear of growing older, triggered by his impending birthday. He will turn forty in 52 minutes, he informs us at the start of the show, as painful sounding surgery noises emanate from behind a curtain (he’s getting some plastic surgery done).

Formed from married comedian team Rebecca Shorrocks and Paul F. Taylor, their mutual trainings as actor and stand-up have evidently informed and benefitted their work as a duo.

Youth and ageing – and the pun-laden jokes that can be extracted from the two – are at the forefront of Young at Start, as Short attempts to assist Curly in his attempts to feel ‘hip’ and ‘current’ once again. To do this, she emerges dressed at a raisin. The humour pitch is established from the forefront, and the audience quickly get on board.

Young at Start goes on to delve into Curly’s memory from childhood – the young Curly being played by Short because, well, he was shorter then – and onto university, and his ambitions to become a figure skater, ‘like Christopher Dean’.

Having both worked in Pantomime, they are equipped with enough insider knowledge as to dismantle the form, giving cheeky conspiratorial winks and delivering an excellent parody of the Christmas staple.

Although I usually dislike audience participation, Short & Curly had a confident grasp upon the room – and confidently ad-libbed both when latecomers arrived, and a couple left. This latter point shouldn’t be taken against them – a notable proportion of the audience were literally crying with laughter, but their humour is perhaps not for everyone.

The naff, seam-filled delivery, with on-stage costume changes and awfully fitting wigs was reminiscent of the obvious camp of certain Saturday Night Live sketches, but with a CBBC / Blue Peter homemadeness thrown in. They even reference Grange Hill.

Short’s various impressions are evocative of Kate McKinnon’s chameleon-like hilarity. They share the same apparent lack of self-conscious concern for looking utterly ridiculous: a rare but admirable skill.

It takes a lot of intelligence to pull off properly silly, and Short & Curly manage it. Their homemade props have a certain Mighty Boosh aesthetic, and their dance moves are in the same league of a sugar-high toddler at a wedding – but it works.

Short & Curly are masters of silly, tongue-in-cheek comedy, and it would be great to see them given a larger space next year.

Short & Curly: Young at Start are playing 6th – 13th, 15th – 27th August at 4.30pm at the Pleasance Courtyard (That)

For tickets and more information, click here


Rebecca Took

Rebecca Took Local Reporter

Midlands-based trainee journalist and writer |

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