Making People Feel Bad Is The Essence Of Comedy
by David Currie
Over the snowless peak of the tall bald man’s head sitting in front of me, I had my first great Fringe experience last night. Yes, it was the first play I saw but Dicky Dicky is a must see showcase of new work by funny people. Billed as sketch comedy, to experience this play is closer to watching seven rapid fire one act plays by seven different playwrights and it is delightful.
Comedy duo Ray Besherah and Dave Brown have really done something with their latest work. In the format they created they have guaranteed that their audience is active and engaged. With two tokens in hand, every member of the audience has the opportunity to vote for the best short plays. At the end of the night, the playwright with the most votes gets a share of the profits. It is an unusual responsibility for an audience member to feel, so it is likely wise that to ease us into our role Dave and Ray begin their show with a penis-baloon-ballet.
It would be impossible to discuss all of the short plays individually so I will select my two favourite. At the midway point of the show, after three short plays that while good (and they were good) left me wanting, Dicky Dicky took a Ionesco-esque turn with “Patent Office.” Had I hated every other play but this one, Dicky Dicky still would have been worth the price of admission. “How do tits improve a hat?” the play asks and yet, leaves each member of the audience to find the answer for themselves.
As a showcase Dicky Dicky finishes strong with “This is Not a Metaphor,” a tragicomedy that begins with the beating of an adult diapered son by his shirtless father and then turns, as one actor injures the other, into a conversation that questions the nature of theatre and acting itself, and then back into an adult diapered son being beaten by his shirtless father. I know, this sounds crazy but see it. It is a master’s class in 4th wall playfulness. It really is exceptionally good.
As is everything in Dicky Dicky, even the short plays I didn’t love, I liked because Ray and Dave liked them. The respect these two bring to each of the works they present is infectious, a palpable feeling built into the staging and striking of each play. I hope Dicky Dicky turns out to be something of a microcosm for this year's Fringe, see five things you like and two things you love, then go to the courtyard and get a beer.