The Raymond & Mr. Timpkins Revue are ridiculous. Properly, kids-TV on a Saturday morning in the 1990s ridiculous. It’s a 14+ show but I expect it’s aimed at those whose humour has remained at the same levels since they were panicking about pimples and thought fart jokes were the height of hilarity. Which, let’s face it, is most of us when we let pretentions of sophisticated satirical taste slide.
The title Ham plays into the stereotype of revue theatre ‘hamming it up’. A fixture of the comedy circuit for over 20 years, the duo are reminiscent of another (sadly topical) comedy duo: the Chuckle Brothers. The act could easily have come from one of Caroll Levis’ 1950s Discovery shows, albeit for the fact that neither Girls Aloud or Lily Allen – or the majority of their musical repertoire – were alive then.
Yet this doesn’t mean that Ham avoids topical or political comedy. In fact, amongst the pop songs, fart jokes and toilet humour, the duo reference Nigel Farage’s racism, abuse by Catholic priests and Heather Mills.
It’s an hour of quite bonkers funniness, which (rather loosely) tells the story of the duo as they prepare to host the vicar for tea in their caravan, while eagerly awaiting the outcome of their auditions for the local Am-Dram production.
Raymond, dressed in inside-out, back-to-front joggers adopts the buffoonish (more buffoonish) role, while Mr. Timpkins is bedecked more soberly in a mismatched suit – only to reveal blindingly shining gold hot pants when he drops his trousers.
It takes well-studied and practiced skill to pull off silly effectively, and the rapid prop changes and choreographed sign-music coordination evidence an act that is not only comfortable, but assured in what it’s doing, and where it’s aiming.
This isn’t high theatre or deeply thoughtful comedy, but it isn’t trying to be. It’s well executed revue that aims for easily laughs, and gets them aplenty.
The Raymond & Mr. Timpkins Revue: Ham is performing 6th - 8th, 14th - 27th August at 8.30pm, at the Pleasance Dome (King Dome)
For tickets and more information, click here