I am, I am

Wed 17th – Fri 19th October 2012


Ellen Robertson

at 09:48 on 18th Oct 2012



The first thing I should say is that I have, rather embarrassingly, come down with Freshers' Flu. Fun title, but I feel it should be renamed 'flu'. I feel appalling. That's why this evening as I made my way to the ADC, Strepsils and tissues in hand, I was excited, but I felt I'd rather be in my bed.

The auditorium was buzzing as I sat down; we were about to watch a highly-anticipated show that has garnered acclaim this summer at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and during its home-run at Cambridge. The moment Lowell Belfield and Harry Michell appeared, any doubts I had about whether I was going to enjoy the evening were almost instantaneously dispelled. They emanate warmth and, crucially in comedy, a sense that they absolutely know what they're doing.

The duo began with a few minutes of pretending to create music, issuing from loudspeakers, by tapping and generally 'playing' various parts of their bodies. Admittedly, it's not as funny when you write it down. But it is hilarious live. What proceeded was a fifty-minute show of simple yet different-enough-not-to-be-repetitive original songs. Punchline after punchline was delivered at lightning speed, in ballads such as 'Hunter Gatherer', 'I Love You, Platonically' and 'London Underground Puns'. The fast pace of the show is not a criticism as the two have real comic chemistry and razor-sharp timing; there was no lag. Certainly, there were songs which gleaned fewer laughs from the audience, but these tended to be more thoughtful, and rather than an awkward fumble they seemed pertinently placed to provide a slight rest for the abdominal muscles. Only occasionally did lines get lost among the laughter, and even when I hadn't heard something I still found myself giggling uproariously with the rest of the crowd. The pair's energy is infectious.

The highest praise I can sing of Michell and Belfield is that the show is simply uplifting. The comedy is supremely well-done: neither too brash nor too timid, too broad nor too narrow. The song 'Every cloud has a silver lining' in particular had me in stitches, but it's also one of those Flight of the Concords-esque tunes that I know I'll be humming for days.

The point is, you have to see it for yourself. 'I am, I am' lived up to the hype. It made me forget the wintry atmosphere, my hacking cough and runny nose, and provided a beautifully-timed, meticulously well-worded and musically-satisfying evening of pure laughter. Even if you're not clutching a kleenex, this show is a definite must-see.


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