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Fringe Review: Camels @ Underbelly

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Following four sell out shows in London, budding creative duo, Patrick McPherson and Zac Peel, bring the tightly knit sketch show ‘Camels’ to Edinburgh’s Festival Fringe.

A mish-mash of news reports can be heard around the tightly contained Friesian Theatre, as the temperature rises with anticipation, as well as the lack of air conditioning. McPherson and Peel stride onstage, clad in beige clothing, a nod to both the title and company branding: Beige Company Productions.

The audio is drowned out as the duo turn down the metaphorical radio, announcing the start of “one-hour class of distraction”.

What follows is a pleasant breath of fresh air from the chaotic political climate, as the pair seamlessly run through a series of well-crafted sketches. The show moves from the silliness of a behind the scenes call centre to the well-orchestrated satire of Judas seeking advice from his mother on the eve of Jesus’ Crucifixion.

With every new guise assumed, the pair adapt effortlessly, demonstrating their ability to combine both expressive theatrics (see, yoga sketch) with well-timed comedic flair. The script, written by the young talents, is relatable albeit raw and leaves the audience giggling at each take.

Minor fluffs are easily corrected, falling naturally into the rest of the performance. There is even a taste of dramatic irony, as McPherson points out his duplicate use of the same laughing point in two mirrored scenes where he is faced with finding the bin in his friend’s house and locating his passport as the plane is ready to take off.

The set is stripped back, utilising the black back drop for shifts between sketches. Mimes are substituted for props and with fine-tuned direction, and the use of music and lighting is appropriate to the scenes and does not appear over-done.

The show’s denouement marks the end of a blissful hour of distraction and with age and talent on their side, I’m sure this won’t be the only hour of distraction we’ll get to see from the double act.

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Camels is at The Friesian Theatre, Underbelly Bristo Square at 1pm from 1-27th August (not 13th). Tickets are available here.

This article is part of our coverage of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Click here to read other articles written by our contributors. 
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