Rachel Parris and Max Dowler are not a double act. They’re not. They make it very clear, from the outset, that they’re not a double act. They’re two people who happen to do a show together. But they’re not a double act. In fact, as the show continues, you get the distinct impression that Rachel doesn’t even consider them friends. Especially when she says “We’re not friends.” But, despite this, the dysfunctional duo are back with a new show after being really rather good last year (when they still weren’t a double act).
If you saw last year’s show then you’ll know what to expect. If you didn’t then I’ll tell you. Max does impressions, Rachel plays the keyboard and sings funny songs. That’s all there is to it. But it’s all really rather good. Max’s impressions, for example, have managed to change the way I look at both Adele and Alan Rickman. And don’t even get me started on Christopher Walken. Rachel’s songs – as ever – are catchy little ditties covering the important things in life, like whether or not she’s ready for children that you’ll be singing for a long time afterwards without really realising it – much like with last year’s “The Moment We Kissed” which is not as romantic as that title makes it sound.
Parris and Dowler Know What They’re Doing is the name of the show and – in all honesty – Parris and Dowler do know what they’re doing. And they do it brilliantly. And while their solo stuff is great, the interaction between the two at the beginning and end of the show is great stuff. For two people who aren’t a double act, these moments bear all the hallmarks of them being a double act with Max filling the role of the straight man in the face of Rachel’s fun-poking.
And, remarkably, the show is still part of the Free Fringe when it’s actually better than some of the stuff that people have to pay for.
Go and see them. Laugh. Enjoy it. And then try and watch Alan Rickman in anything, without the image of him doing karaoke creeping into your mind.