There’s far too much of nothing in this hour of surreal character comedy from madcap duo Jennifer Byrne and Victoria Falconer-Pritchard. Crudely crafted characters come and go with little reason which, you might say, is the point, but when there’s next to no arresting comedy happening, the pointlessness borders on the insufferable.
The eponymous Demon Dive Bar is, we assume, a cabaret bar for demons, but next to no work goes into constructing a sense of place or premise, putting the audience on the back-foot from the off. A world without logic or sense can be a mine of good fun, but if there’s no world at all to speak of, then there are no routes in to start with. Some of Byrne and Falconer-Pritchard’s characters get laughs – a section where a Yeti childhood is re-created works for smart delivery and a punchline payoff – but many fall completely flat, and this is amplified in half-hearted audience interactions that the hour hinges upon. The show is weirdly beautiful in design and musical segments work well, but elsewhere things drag painfully.
This is the kind of show that should flourish in front of a Fringe audience, where surrealist comics often find their feet and their mainstream voices. Contemporaries Jody Kamali and Lucy Pearman, who have shows up this year and who’ve had the sense to place some consistent parameters around their senselessness, are indeed going down a storm. By comparison, the production values of Yeti’s Demon Dive Bar are far superior, the show has a prominent venue, and a lot of work has gone into the marketing – it’s a shame that the hour just isn’t much fun.