The Comedy Vault – The Two Faces Of Mitchell And Webb.

The Two Faces Of Mitchell And Webb (2006)

Having been interested in the career of comedy double-act David Mitchell and Robert Webb, here’s a review of their stage show that was released on DVD. By this point, Mitchell and Webb had become a success, mostly thanks to their sitcom Peep Show, they went on to star in sketch shows on the TV and radio, and they turned some of the most popular characters and highlights into a tour.

The performance on the DVD was recorded at The Grand Opera House in York. It seems that one positive thing about going on tour is that you get a big curtain with a picture of your face on it. One trouble though is that you have to do several fast-paced costume changes behind the scenes, and then make sure that you came back on stage in time and don’t miss your cue, or indeed forget your dialogue, so everything has to be planned and rehearsed carefully, make sure those wigs are at the ready.

The supporting cast were James Bachman and Abigail Burdess (also Webb’s wife). Some of the sketches performed that went down well with the theatre audience included the promotion for endless football coverage, the tramp Sir Digby Chicken-Caesar, Big Talk with Raymond Terrific, the lazy writers, and the game show parodies Numberwang and Hole In The Ring.

And of course there were the snooker commentators, who seemed to be more interested in talking about how fond they were of the young players. They appeared twice, and finished off with their special song, which was well received, much in comparison to when they also performed this sketch live on Comic Relief one year with some snooker stars and died on their backside.

A lot of sketches were packed in, and plenty of them were sharp and witty, that’s why people have described them as their generation’s Fry and Laurie. This tour ran for 44 dates across the UK and got good reviews, but they haven’t done another one since. The only extra is a trail for their film Magicians (that I reviewed recently), although you can also text a number to get fancy Mitchell and Webb ringtones.

The Comedy Vault – Magicians.

Magicians (2007)

I’m sure that you have realised that I’ve enjoyed a lot of the work of comedy double-act David Mitchell and Robert Webb. After their profile began to increase following their successful sitcom Peep Show, why not do a film together as well? The first thing to note about Magicians is that it was directed by Andrew O’Connor. Now I enjoyed a lot of the children’s TV and game shows that he hosted throughout the 80s and 90s, I really did think that he was great.

And Andrew was a decent choice to direct as he had been working in magic during his career as well, and used to be in The Magic Circle. In Magicians, Mitchell and Webb starred as Harry and Karl, who were very good at doing a vanishing act. They were so terrible, the studio audience all got up and left. Only kidding. They had been friends since they were 13, and had developed their act over many years. vlcsnap-00001

But after a trick with a guillotine goes horribly wrong, they then go their separate ways, with Harry dropping out of magic altogether. After four years, Harry gets in touch with Karl again, hoping they maybe they could get back together. They decide to enter the International Magic Shield Tournament in Jersey. Harry has to work hard to get back into his rhythm, and works with his new assistant Linda. vlcsnap-00002

Meanwhile, Karl has gone off in a different direction and becomes a mindreader/illusionist. They have to perform in front of the demanding judges, and manage to get through several qualifying rounds to make the final. This is a big occasion, and Karl decides that he is probably better off with Harry, and their performance together earn them the top prizes. Maybe they are better off as a double-act. And someone fell over as well, which was great. vlcsnap-00005

Also featuring in the cast were Jessica Hynes, Darren Boyd, Steve Edge, and Peter Capaldi. Extras include the usual, such as a look behind the scenes, and some deleted scenes. Magicians did receive fairly mixed reviews from critics, but it was an interesting idea, as you don’t really see much magic on the TV nowadays. Mitchell and Webb haven’t made another film together since though, and have preferred to concentrate on their TV and radio work such as laughing on various comedy panel games.