Dupe - with Carey Marx and Andrew Pipe

Cafe Royal - Venue 47

This show starts on the wrong foot - it is supposed to be about the way the general public is misled by those in authority, fair enough - but the audience paid to see comedy, not to see Andrew Pipe rant about politics. He and Carey take turns - and Andrew's first turn is the sort of "right-on" stuff you'd expect to see at Student's Union political rallies, not comedy festivals. It's like he's trying to be Ben Elton, but starting with the political message and forgetting the comedy. Once he has got this off his chest, however (about 15 minutes into the show) it settles down into a moderately amusing observational duet.

Carey begins his first 'turn' - he is a comedian and magician with a laid-back style which is in sharp comparison with Pipe's evangelical bluster. The show is about suggestion and misdirection, and the magic that Carey does fits in nicely with this. His delivery is much more approachable, and the audience seem relieved to be actually told some real jokes.

Andrew begins his second section and is much more easy to stomach when he gives the message after the observation - a good example of this is him pointing out the blatant product-placement in Godzilla. Apparently Kodak get a huge background plug in the film - he then goes on to say that by pointing this out he is perpetuating the commercialism, and I suppose that by putting this in the review I am too...

Carey then goes on to list all they ways that the gullible are "duped" - an impressively long and rapid-fire list of things like spoon bending, and the sweeping generalisations that tarot readers, excrement readers (!) and other fortune tellers use to make it look like they can see the future. He punctuates these observations with sleight of hand and, as you will have guessed from the stage props, a guillotine trick. This is all geared to prove how easy it is for the public to believe what the mentalist wants them to, and we are encouraged to see comparisons between the way magic deceives and the way we are deceived in everyday life.

In short, this is a show by two people with wildly differing approaches to the same concept - that we are constantly being fooled and we shouldn't let this happen. However, most of the audience paid to see comedy, not political comment, and there were not enough laughs to sweeten the bitter taste of the message they were trying to put across.

P.S. After the show I was handed a small flyer with a faked five-star review of "Dupe" by a person called something like "Sue Doenim" - this could either be a blatant attempt to get bigger audiences, or a subtle reminder that we shouldn't believe everything we read - but are they that subtle? I'll leave you to make your own decision on that one.

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