The Australian duo of musical comedian Sammy J and puppeteer Heath McIvor - best known for his purple puppet Randy - are now experienced Fringe regulars who, quite rightly, are more popular with each successive show they bring to the Scottish capital. Yet, when even a good Sunday audience of around 200 people barely fills a third of the seats in the Underbelly Cow Shed, it does seem a tad self-defeating.
That said, the pair soon make you forget the echoing emptiness; this is a show that, from the start, grabs the audience’s attention, tickles its sensitive parts and leaves them in no doubt that they’re safe in two pairs of very talented hands. The writing is sharp; even newbies in the audience can get a succinct measure of the show’s two main characters from the briefest of conversations overheard before they’ve even appeared on stage.
The Inheritance is the simple story of flat-sharers Sammy J and Randy, initially depressed by the realisation that their lives haven’t advanced one jot since the last Australian census which, unlike the UK’s, takes place every five years. Then, fortuitously, Randy’s old uncle dies, requiring the pair to travel to Britain to claim Randy’s inheritance. However, there is, of course, a duplicitous backstory to be uncovered that could end their friendship.
Told through a heady mix of songs, current one-liners, snappy dialogue and a repeated willingness to break the fourth wall, this may not be the subtlest of comedies. It is, however, thoroughly entertaining, with a pace that’s utterly irresistible and a command of the comedic pause that’s second to none. That they also ably incorporate into the show the random elements that come from any live audience is also praiseworthy - not least when, after a scene during which they’d supposedly knocked down someone while driving without due care and attention, the audience member they turned to one night just happened to be an off-duty policeman.
This is definitely a worth-seeing show; who knows, perhaps all those empty seats at the back of the Cow Shed will eventually be filled. They certainly deserve to be.