Two Super Super Hot Men
Studio – The Vaults
Reviewed – 13th March 2020
“an award-worthy piece that is pointedly political while being warmly hilarious and wonderfully entertaining”
Climate change is one of the burning issues of the moment. Some protest to try to bring about global action while others deny it.
The very daft, but utterly engaging “Two Super Super Hot Men” is a small play asking big questions from the perspective of people who might not ordinarily expect to be concerned by its impact. This is drag king comedy with a conscience.
Saying as much in 50 minutes as David Attenborough has in dozens of TV documentaries over many years Alan and Ron (the clownish alter-egos of performers Rosa Garland and Alice Boyd) give a thought-provoking and extremely funny perspective on global warming, the dangers of being ill-informed (and of blaming everybody else in a crisis), and a plant called Carol.
It is a knowingly ridiculous take on the issue as the two geeky middle-aged foley artists stuck in a small UK studio provide the sound effects for documentaries about climate change and begin to experience the shocking realities of the problem for themselves. Butter becomes sand, milk goes off in a warm fridge, water turns into stones as the pair get involved in increasingly absurd offshoots of the seriously-voiced factual programme.
Ron (Garland) regularly makes good strong Yorkshire tea and removes a collection of gaudy Hawaiian shirts while commenting on how hot it is; Alan (Boyd) has an alarm go off on his watch when it is time to tend beloved plant Carol, with whom he develops an interesting relationship and finds leaves sprouting from parts of his own body.
The two performers (who are also artistic directors and writers of the project) don’t put a foot wrong playing the two well-observed men, sprinkling the show with some terrific examples of mime, clown-like buffoonery and a working relationship that is spot on, particularly in some fast-fire conversation gags.
The humour begins the moment the audience arrives with the pair asking members to give them something that will make an interesting sound, then one does something with the item close to a microphone. So we get jangling keys (“that could be soft rain”), an opening and closing wallet (“sounds like a bat taking wing”) and a crinkly sweet wrapper (“that has to be a small squirrel”). We are cleverly misdirected into the duo’s world where the presence of a universal threat to life can be comfortably ignored.
An oft-repeated mantra is “If I didn’t do it and I didn’t do it then what are we worrying about!” – the cry of thousands who think the environmental crisis is only happening elsewhere in the world or is just a problem to be tackled by the next generation.
This is an award-worthy piece that is pointedly political while being warmly hilarious and wonderfully entertaining. It will be playing at the Brighton Fringe in May but deserves to be seen in theatres big and small, in schools and on street corners.
It’s one of the best examples of how Fringe theatre can tackle a contemporary concern with comedy and devastating directness. Let’s hope Alan and Ron can shine similar light on other significant environmental concerns in the future.
Reviewed by David Guest
Photography by Cam Harle