Avent and Monie at Tobacco Factory Theatre

Avent--Monie_WEB-535x400I took my neighbour to see this show at the Tobacco Factory in Bristol. He had never been to the venue and was quite looking forward to the whole experience. A cheeky pint of local Bath Ale before the show went down very well before we took out seats. The audience was only half full, there was a pleasant pre show buzz to the crowd as we all waited for the show to start.

This performance was a two man pre-Edinburgh Fringe comedy sketch show, kind of a cross between The Fast Show and Morecombe and Wise. The Two main characters played two entertainers doing a show. We got to see the show they were performing, and ‘backstage’ to the show as the relationship between the two characters developed and secrets were learnt about each other. I thought this was a genius idea, as instead of being just a series of un-related comic sketches, we got to identify with the characters behind the characters and the continuity helped thread the show into a powerful structure.

The sketches themselves were wonderfully witty. The two actors took on different characters and situations which were well paced and funny, which is good news if you are watching a comedy show! Our favourite was a bizarre sketch when the donning of a green hat made the wearer turn into a tortoise. Possibly the simplest of visual gags, but one that had the audience bursting with laughter and was very well played out. There were some wonderfully cheesy gags, some clever stuff you (we) didn’t immediately get (I love a bit of delayed laughter as the audience slowly work it out), some library double entendre (about hardbacks, and fingering spines) and some proper silly nonsense. “I quite fancy being a nutter. You get your own room, en suite bathroom, lovely view, although strangely – no where to hang anything.”

Then there was the back stage story of the two actors professional relationship. One had started rehearsing sketches with another actor, and the two bickered like a married couple as one found out the other was ‘cheating’ on him with another actor. This story developed each time the actors came ‘backstage’ to get ready for the next sketch, with a very funny climax to the whole proceedings involving an un-tied shoelace and an apology.

In between all this, they had short comedy sketches on video, with soldiers doing tiger face paints instead of camouflage, gangsters playing pooh sticks while disposing of bodies, and a mix up when someone asks for a tattoo of a cockatoo (say it out loud). The video kept the pace of the show really punchy with mostly ‘one line’ punch lines, while the live sketches facilitated longer jokes with multiple laughter potential (or to put it in layman’s terms, lots of funny bits).

It was a very funny night out. We were lucky enough to chat to one of the actors after the gig, who was really friendly and eager to discuss the ideas and plans for the show at the Comedy Fringe Festival later this year in Edinburgh from the 1st to the 22nd August, but you can catch them before in the Bath Rondo Theatre on the 26th July. www.aventandmonie.com for details.

If you like your comedy to be funny, fast and full of fab fun, then Avent and Monie are the answer. A fresh approach to a classic comedy formula.

– Review by Ade from Action Pussycat and desperate to have my own Edinburgh Fringe Show

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