We round up the reviews for Harry Peacock and Dan Skinner’s play now playing in the Menier Chocolate Factory’s new space – The Mixing Room.
WhatsOnStage: * “The result is a skit in search of a script, a seemingly endless and preposterous sketch that tests credulity as it strives for ever bigger laughs and wastes the talents of Skinner (who plays with Roger with a gloriously baffled comic timing) and Simon Lipkin, who has stepped into the part of Brian with days to spare on stage.”
Evening Standard: *** “At first, I couldn’t quite believe I was just watching two men leaving each other messages on flip-phones (it’s set in 2011). But the show draws you in with its mix of banality, tragedy and lunacy.”
Broadway World: *** “So subtle Brian and Roger is not – it’s subtitle, A Highly Offensive Play, is well-earned, but dialling back the more offensive flights of fancy in favour of the genuinely poignant (which does make a welcome appearance from time to time) would ground the comedy in lived experience, rather than pitching us into a game in which both characters bid to be the more extreme in their exhibition of their flaws.”
London Theatre.co.uk: **** “Dan Skinner really does go the extra mile as Roger, playing his podcast character on stage. His versatility shines through too; one minute running through the theatre as though he’s covered in offal, to then revealing his true, tender feelings for ex-fiancée Claire. Roger’s wackiness is expertly balanced by Simon Lipkin as the crude mastermind Brian, stepping into the role just days before previews began and learning over 40 monologues in a week. It’s a shame that faithful Brian & Roger fans won’t see the podcasters together on stage, but Lipkin keeps the show moving, driving the conversations from 0-100 in seconds.”
Culture Whisper: *** “There’s clearly an audience for Brian & Roger, and these characters have the potential to enthral on stage, but copying and pasting the format from podcast to play is lazy editing. This show needs another stint in the writers’ lab or at least a good trimming to fulfil its true potential.”
The Stage: *** “Inventively staged but ultimately unimaginative adaptation of the darkly comic podcast.”
iNews: ** “The problem is that the material is funnier when something’s left to our imagination: here, every awful predicament and garish gag is thrust before our eyes.”
West End Best Friend: **** “The technical elements of the show are fantastic and Timothy Brid’s stunning video design does a stellar job of enhancing the set, as well as adding further comical touches to the story. It is great to see this new, smaller stage at the Menier Chocolate Factory being used to its full potential and offering an additional space to continue the Factory’s well deserved reputation of being a first class producing house.”
The Guardian: *** “In lieu of character progression, events become increasingly manic and overblown as the play progresses, leaving its most fertile dramatic terrain – the everyday poignancy of the two divorcees’ lives – in its wake.”
The Telegraph: **** “Adapted from the podcast of the same name, the Menier Chocolate Factory’s chronicle of two men on the skids makes for terrific entertainment.”
The Times: * “Highly offensive? Not really, just very, very dull. Harry Peacock and Dan Skinner’s podcast about the misadventures of two inept divorced men has become a cult phenomenon. Then again, so has that excruciatingly naff series My Dad Wrote a Porno, so there’s no point assuming popularity is a measure of quality.”
Brian & Roger – A Highly Offencsive Play continues to play at the Menier Chocolate Factory until the 18th December.