Anne Edmonds and Lloyd Langford are both genuinely funny people, which is really all the premise you would need for a comedy show.
However, their joint Melbourne International Comedy Festival show, winningly titled Business With Pleasure, is supplemented by the fact that the two are a couple in real life and do not normally perform together. The show banks on the chemistry between the two translating to the stage.
This gambit was largely successful, and the pair strolled easily through an hour of banter with the crowd on their side the entire time. It did feel underdeveloped and low-stakes, but The Comedy Theatre provided an equally intimate and grand setting, which added to the living room vibe they were trying to establish.
Get all the latest comedy news and reviews here.
And it was truly charming watching Edmonds and Langford riff on their relationship and how they fared the events of 2020 together, their disparate temperaments — Langford pointed and reserved, Edmonds a whirlwind of energy and volume — making them easy enough foils for one another.
The topics covered ranged from their experiences of being trapped in an apartment together during lockdown to their fertility journey, even sharing a letter from their GP, all of which added to the feeling of affection and familiarity which typified the show.
Only running for three nights, there was no escaping the fact that the show felt like a bit of an experiment, something to try out but not enough to affect ticket sales for Langford’s solo show Jazzed, which is running throughout the festival.
Although the off-the-cuff nature of the interactions between the comics and, in turn, their attempts at involving the audience (mostly through the age-old art of berating latecomers, which, come on guys, I know it’s early but it’s only a 60-minute show, get to your seats!) were part of the vibe, the funniest sections were without a doubt when they each did a solo spot.
Taken from their own repertoires, and mostly familiar from past TV spots, these mini-stretches of individual stand up felt a lot more rehearsed and landed the biggest laughs.
Upon entry, a giant QR code projected onto a screen had invited audience members to submit questions for the Q&A section that they saved for last.
A useful device in engaging the crowd with encouraged heckling, the questions were both unsurprisingly crass: “What’s yer favourite posish?” and well-intentioned: “What annoys you most about each other?” (Edmonds: He eats loudly. Langford: Everything we’ve just spoken about).
Realising Langford’s next show was about to start, they bade an enthusiastic audience good night. There were some giggles, it wasn’t exactly hilarious, but pleasant enough.
You can still catch Lloyd Langford’s solo show Jazzed as part of Melbourne International Comedy Festival from Tuesday April 13-Sunday April 18. Tickets available via the MICF website.