Cülture Elité @ The Stand

Cülture Elité are hilarious when focused, but their new show lacks a cohesive direction

Review by James McColl | 22 Aug 2019
  • Cülture Elité @ The Stand

Norwegian duo Lars Berrum & Martin Beyer-Olsen are a curious troupe. With Cülture Elité, their latest Fringe show, the pair aim their comedy sights on art elitism – for all of five minutes. Their use of sketches, character comedy and slapstick leave the crowd unsure as to what they are witnessing. Despite their best efforts, the show quickly derails into ever-segmented bits, with the stronger material left for the first and last ten minutes. 

Bursting through the door, Beyer-Olsen crashes Berrum's attempt at crowd work to give him an award. It is the first of many brilliant ideas that are perhaps under developed or under utilised. There's a scattershot approach to material; some jokes landing, others never getting off the ground. Ultimately though, the show is unfocused. The reality is it lacks any cohesive direction.

It's more of a missed opportunity than a bad premise, as the pair are hilarious when focused. They definitely work best as a duo – something is lost when one jumps off stage, leaving the other to tread water until they return. And while some material is sharp and cutting, a character like Gary Serious (a character that does stereotypical American style stand-up interjected by overly serious personal issues) seems out of place. A fast moving slideshow explaining different types of art is fantastic, but over far too soon. There is also unnecessary use of this Fringe's favourite toy: the loop pedal. When nothing unique is done with the tech, it's all the more deflating.

These weaker elements don’t overshadow the better but it is hard not to think – what if the entire show was as good as its best bits?

Cülture ElitéThe Stand Comedy Club (Stand 2), until 25 Aug, 10.05pm, £9-10