The tiny space of the Underbelly’s Wee Coo seems appropriate for a musical duo who tour by accepting invitations to play in the living rooms, sheds and social spaces of people recommended by previous audience members. Thus begins a night of songs sung in close harmony, including some wonderfully funny song lyrics; a huge variety of musical instruments played with skill; and comic gags and turns of all kinds.
Gideon is a ‘stove top’ country folk troubadour from a great American tradition with a fine singing voice and down-home charm that is downright dangerous. Hubcap is a bespectacled archaeologist of historical musicology with wit aplenty. The songs are so enjoyable to hear the audience hangs on every word, not wanting to laugh too much in case they miss the next line. Every so often the songs are interspersed with jingles for their ‘sponsors’, Johnson’s Edible Bugs.
This lovable musical duo isn’t afraid to go for the cheap and cheesy laugh or the almost corny visual joke, but neither are they afraid to lay down the most wickedly salacious lyric or expose their own flaws and vulnerabilities, taking outrageous risks in their endless varieties of props, instruments, routines and songs. This is Abbot and Costello meet Bob Hope and Bing Crosby; a Marx Brothers for the 21st century.
One cannot help but be charmed by this unpretentious pair of contemporary American vaudevillians, but sometimes it feels that they keep filling each moment with as many gags, pranks, witty lyrics and stunning musicianship in a youthfully determined effort to amuse and entertain. If, in a few years, Gideon and Hubcap are still presenting their living room music and entertainment show, it would be great to see them relying less on the props and gags and more on the beautiful, witty and poignant songs they do so well.