Side-splitting, stiff upper-lipped hilarity from energetic duo Dan Lees and Neil Frost. Two ultra-privileged British gents struggling to hold onto their whimsical world of cricket, tea and secret arms deals. ‘Another much-needed chapter in our national legacy of lampooning the powers that be, building on Peter Cook, the Pythons and The Fast Show…
Eton Mess, while wonderful and beautifully performed, is not everybody’s cup of tea. Dan Lees and Neil Frost follow in the footsteps of Monty Python, Vic and Bob, Harry Hill and the Mighty Boosh, amongst others. At times, I could have sworn I was hearing Graham Chapman when Neil Frost delivered his lines.
The Establishment serve up their clowning with a dash of Eric and Ernie for good measure. I’m not sure if their humour is more absurdist than surreal but it is damn good fun. They take a none-too-subtle swipe at those who govern the UK throughout the show. This includes poking fun at Brexiteers’ colonial wet dreams or the elite’s corruption and control of society. While it isn’t subtle it is damn good fun.
Both performers make good use of the venue and have fun with the audience, exploring the seating as they search for game.
However, the show is not cruel, more giving the paying public a gentle poking tickle along their ribs. In the space of an hour, they cover fox hunting, arms sales, dodgy handshakes, the financial markets and much more besides.
They do it quickly and with panache; from where I was sitting I’d say they enjoy it almost as much as the audience does. The show is funny without falling into smugness, clever without a hint of condescension.
If you want a trip to an askew vision of the UK then I doubt you’ll do better than seeing Eton Mess.