Robin and Partridge: When the world's of comedy collide
Andrew Mickel4 April 2011
Robin and Partridge have, at times, felt like the Peter Pan of the comedy world; they are the comedy duo who never want to grow up.
Forged out of the impressive range of improvised comedians who issued forth from the various university societies late last decade, the duo have managed to successfully carve their own alternative comedy niche within London’s comedy world over the past three years.
Starting with a live show, Carnival des Phenomenes at Church Hall in Clerkenwell’s Exmouth Market in 2008, Robin and Partridge have successfully grown into one of the mainstays of the alternative arts world through their semi-residency at the Wilmington Arms with their show The Story Pirates and a number of unique secret gigs which included a night-time tour of Dalston Market and an improvised arts night in a secret apothecarie held in a bar behind a bookcase.
Yet despite fermenting a unique style of comedy the two have avoided penning an hour of scripted material until now, which makes their Edinburgh preview show Worlds Collide all the more intriguing to watch.
Worlds Collide is a refreshing attempt to pin down the wide variety of different comedy styles which the duo employ into a coherent show.
Though only a preview of the material they hope to take to the Edinburgh Fringe, Robin and Partridge have managed to portray a promising hour of sketch and character comedy, sprinkled with moments of improv and a range of audio and visual paraphernalia which would make Tim Burton proud.
The plot is loosely based on a talk by career lifestyle guru Jeremy, played by Robin, who has been drafted in to help a struggling Hackney Café owner, Ron, played by Partridge.
The hour-long show exposes the arrogant Jeremy’s own failings and inadequacies while delving into his hidden past.
However the dialogue of the main plot is loose enough to allow a multitude of different themes to be introduced interspersed with short sketches which deal with Jeremy’s inner conscience, and a video sketch of how arts students fill in job applications.
Speaking to SSP about the show Robin said; “This isn't our first hour long show but is definitely to us, our most accomplished and cohesive to date.
“Although it is still only a 'rough draft' of what we'll be taking to Edinburgh. With this show, we wanted to do more with characters and focussed less on 'two and fro' banter between Robin and Partridge, and we wanted a (semi) complete story.
“We have tried to create a world of characters and crazy nuts faces who could prance around the stage along with our usual verbal tennis.”
If anything, what you gain from Worlds Collide is a wonder why more people have heard of Robin and Partridge before.
The answer is in the very nature of the duo themselves. While other acts spend most of the summer months being weighed down by the career aspect of the Edinburgh Fringe, trying to hone that perfect anecdote to gain an award nomination, the duo were merrily eloping away from the industry spotlight at various arts and music festivals across the UK.
This summer tour has seen the duo work with a number of highly successful arts companies including Underground Rebel Bingo Club, and House of Fairy Tales and hosting a dinner for Jarvis Cocker.
When they did turn up at the Edinburgh Fringe last August, they were accompanied by around five thousand hand-made art fliers in a rattled old suitcase which had been made by festival-goers from Somerset to Sunderland - almost all of them original in design. (they had taken the blank fliers around the country in a suitcase along with a set of pens, felt tips and crayons to ask unsuspecting festival-goers to help create their Edinburgh show).
It is this part of their brand of comedy which is most appealing, they cannot be tied down, either to a script, or a career led path, which makes their approach to comedy refreshingly different.
It is not in Robin and Charlie’s nature to settle down, however if they do – even for a month - then for people looking for an inspiring and fresh take on comedy at the Fringe this August should head along to Worlds Collide.
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