I wouldn’t normally associate a beat poetry performance with the north of England, nor would I expect it to contain self-deprecating jokes about ageing. But The Glummer Twins, David Harmer and Ray Globe, bring these elements together to make a hell of a funny performance.
Walking into Edinburgh’s quaint little theatre, Paradise in the Vault, we were offered a Werther’s Original from a plate before the duo began their performance. It was a nice touch, especially for those of us who enjoy a Werther’s. After the introduction – set to the music of Aerosmith’s Walk This Way – they performed a poem entitled “Just Turned 60” – it got plenty of laughs, and was a sign of things to come. After the poem, Globe informed us that “the sad thing is, that was written two years ago.”
The chemistry between them was very Morecambe and Wise; probably due to the skilful comic timing, the northern humour, and the fact that Globe is the spit of Eric Morecambe. They’ve been performing together for thirty-one years, which came across in the performance – it’s always a nice for a double act throw friendly jibes at each other. Harmer spent his childhood in the south, which was the subject of a nifty dialect-based debate:
Harmer: Let’s have a butchers.
Globe: No, let’s have a look.
H: Alright darling!
G: Ey up, duck!
Their banter continued through the show; “You’re working hard tonight.” – “Well at least someone is.”
One of my favourites was a piece called “Jazz Detective”. It was a beat poem set to a bluesy bass guitar, in which Harmer put on a fedora to play said detective. Despite the film noir atmosphere, it was a poem filled with puns about established poets. To give an example – “Sure, if you don’t like booze, go next door. It’s a Dry Den.” Seeing it written down, you may groan – but live, it was pulled off ironically, with a wry eye to the audience. I won’t give any more away but it really was quite clever.
I was often reminded of Julian Barratt and Noel Fielding’s poems in The Mighty Boosh – the ones they called “crimps” – about trivial things like soup. The Glummer Twins did a great one about Fiery Jack, a Deep Heat type of muscle pain relief. Nobody could contain their laughter after quite instructive line “please don’t think it’s tooth paste!” was repeated about five times.
It’s difficult to make any more comparisons; it’s a unique act. But hopefully when I tell you to think Morecambe and Wise crossed with The Mighty Boosh, you’ll buy a ticket. They have two more performances at the Fringe – tomorrow and Saturday – don’t miss them.