Double Denim @ Underbelly, Cowgate

Double Denim's energetic jungle cruise is a fun but rocky crossing

Review by Rob Young | 19 Aug 2019
  • Double Denim: Adventure Show

Clad in light-up Sketchers and welcoming the audience with leis while Ricky Martin pumps out of the PA, Michelle Brasier and Laura Frew set the tone for a show that is endlessly high-energy, unashamedly daft and sometimes totally incoherent. 

The premise is baffling yet crowd-pleasing: the girls are going on a gap year cruise on the SS Friendship (theme!), but they are also working on the ship. Michelle is the captain of the ship because reasons, but the ship is broken and crashes on a jungle island populated by cannibals and French crabs. Fortunately, the pair recognise the porous narrative, commenting on its stupidity throughout and riffing admirably on the multiple rabbit holes. 

Some will find Double Denim's perma-smiling style loveable but annoying. Once on the island, the skits seem completely random and are often overlong or meandering: an audience-participation scat battle is largely laughless, whilst an acrostic poem about Dwayne Johnson becomes an interminable, near-Homerian epic. Meanwhile, the frequent improvising is fun but forgoes tightness in the structure. It’s all entertaining enough, but there is talent here that would be better served by being more attentive to form. Early references to Jumanji and Atomic Kitten appear later in the show, but the payoff is a flicker rather than an eternal flame. 

Pleasingly, the madness is held together by a superb performance from Brasier, an anarchic imp full of childish mischief and coquettish hypnotism. With an excellent singing voice and the ability to make the word ‘yes’ hilarious, Brasier is intensely watchable – even with a washing basket on her head – and it would be interesting to see her shtick translate to another solo show, after her 2016 outing Space Tortoise

Ultimately, this is a worthwhile hour with a handful of magic moments, but the material is too messy for this adventure to be a blockbuster.

Double Denim: Adventure ShowUnderbelly Cowgate (Belly Dancer), until 25 Aug, 8.40pm, £9-11