The joy of the Fringe is always in finding something new that you loved every moment of when you went in with absolutely zero expectations. The Stevenson Experience were an absolute tour de force that had me laughing from start to end. I openly admit to having a soft spot for musical comedy, so seeing it done well is always going to be a winner for me. Their show was a great mix of frequent chuckles and thumping laugh out loud moments.
Benj and James are identical twin brothers who combine like a two-part transformer into The Stevenson Experience. Their show, Identical As Anything, is a surging blast through hilarious songs about their lives as twins. The foundation of their act was built on their escalating sibling rivalry. Their constant bickering was delightfully heartless and cruel in that good natured-way only other brothers and sisters understand.
Impressively, they employed a tally system to determine who was the funniest of the two via a scoreboard where each time one of them made us laugh, an audience member shouted “point”. It was a bold move, as with a poor audience the shtick could have really backfired but another stellar Edinburgh audience ensured that the board was completely filled with 5-bar gates.
An absolute stand-out, one-of-the-best-moments-of-the-Fringe-for-me was a song which featured call and response vocals where Benj sang a line and then James repeated it. The humour came from James’ having dyslexia (and I use the term “have” very loosely here) so he sang them in a rearranged order, changing the meaning and warping them with innuendo. It was the kind of funny and clever performance where we in the audience were able to figure out exactly what the joke was going to be just from the delivery of the line. For example, the line “My love for you explodes when I see a smile across your pretty face” and it’s significantly ruder rearranging got the biggest laugh. Another excellent section was a song that explored all the times they’d swapped places which each other – and no, they didn’t do what you’re thinking. Well, not yet anyway.
The only minor annoyance was a weirdo in the front row shouting oh-so-boring and obvious slanders about their mother over and over like a pull string puppet programmed to say the same phrase after each yank. That aside, the energy levels were ferocious and as we filed out the door the general consensus of the murmurs from everyone around me was overwhelmingly positive.
The Stevenson Experience’s Identical As Anything runs until 27th August at Assembly George Square Studios, 22:15.