Matt and Ollie are… Dads! is a hilarious romp through the family tree of a “cursed dynasty”, examining the fathers and sons whose flaws and foibles are exposed to the audience
This concept is taken to its logical extremes and beyond by Matt Zeqiri and Oliver Neck, from a man addicted to party horns to a Viennese aristocrat with enormous buttocks. The ludicrous concepts are matched with excellent performances from Matt and Ollie, and the widely varied scenes are brought to life expertly by director and designer Sarah Thomas, who also acts as stage hand during the show. The costume and elements of set are used sparingly, only to set the scene, but this has the great effect of focussing the audience’s attention purely on Matt and Ollie’s onstage antics.
The two players have worked with each other extensively before and this is evident in the way they bounce off each other so easily. While this is great in scripted sections, it is even better during their improvised lines, which came frequently, with both men playing around the imperfect nature of the technical elements underneath McEwan Hall. Watching them make each other corpse in this way was a joy, as the intimate space of Friesian allowed the audience to feel like they were a part of the joke.
What becomes clear is that Of Mice Theatre, as a troupe, do not take themselves seriously in the slightest: they have fun, and invite the audience in to join them. This makes for a spectacle that is hard not to enjoy, even if purely for the amount of enjoyment both men on stage are having. This show is to be sought out by anyone who loves comedy, particularly absurdist comedy, of which I can think of no better example.
Matt and Ollie are… Dads! is running in Underbelly Friesian until the 27th August (not 13th) at 18:35.