Parris & Dowler Know What They're Doing

Review by Sarah Sharp | 29 Aug 2012
  • Parris & Dowler

Parris & Dowler know what they’re doing. Or do they? Well, yes – so if hapless incompetence is your thing, they’re probably not for you. Part of their opening schtick is, admittedly, Parris ribbing Dowler about just how many times he’s auditioned for Hollyoaks, but this ain’t Hollyoaks (there are believable facial expressions for a start). After a beguilingly inept ditty to introduce themselves – anyone who’s seen Parris perform before will be in no doubt as to her talent on the old ivories – they go solo with their respective sets, before returning together for a final sing-song.

Musical comedy and impressions may not seem like the likeliest complement, but it’s easy to see why the two joined forces. Onstage they make a winning combination – she throws out barbed comments from behind a butter-wouldn’t-melt smile while Dowler scowls and bears it. The antithesis of sunny and stormy is a classic one but they really pull it off – moreover, the very different style of their chosen vehicles of hilarity mean that you never get the sense, as can be the case with a double act, of them treading on one another’s toes.

That said, it seemed a shame they didn’t infringe one another’s sets just a little bit more. The comedic chemistry between them is nifty enough that I wished they’d made a little bit more of it throughout. Nevertheless, this is an excellent hour of laughs. Those who feel strongly against Alans should not partake – the final send off is from His Grace the Lord High Sugar, and Dowler’s killer note is Alan Rickman doing the karaoke rounds. Who knew the Snape would be such an Adele fan?

Parris & Dowler Know What They're Doing, The Three Sisters, until 26 August, 15:10, Free