Rubberbandits – Continental Fistfight review

Tuesday Feb 4 2014, Soho Theatre

Rubberbandits – Continental Fistfight

Back for a third time at the Soho Theatre in less than a year, the Rubberbandits have got to know our beloved capital rather well. Indeed, their new show, ‘Continental Fistfight’, kicks off with a West End musical-inspired number, entitled ‘London Town!’, which is all rather pleasant and peaceful… until a gun is pulled.

Yep, the new show from Limerick’s riotous, unapologetically crude hip-hop duo – Blindboy Boatclub and Mr Chrome (plus the increasingly rat-arsed DJ Willie O’DJ) – begins with a bang (no pun intended). Then the ‘three-hour long’ musical that Blindboy’s written quickly dissolves and they revert back to their belting Celtic beats.

The Rubberbandits love to play up their Irishness. ‘Soho’ becomes ‘Sah-hah’ in their thick, nasally accents, Golden Globe-winning Irish actor Gabriel Byrne makes an appearance (albeit in puppet form) and they’ve even written a song advising Boyzone on what direction to take now that their careers have gone ‘dawn d’toilat’. And do you know what really annoys the plastic bag-balaclava’d pair about playing away from home? That the English ‘can’t pronounce Dylan Moran’s name correctly.’

But beneath the striking appearances, hammy accents and blurry, drug-filtered opinions, there’s deep, devilishly sharp satire at work here. ‘Hey Mister’ expertly ridicules the fine line between the looks and lifestyles of hipsters and hobos, and TV comedians come under fire for their unoriginal photoshoot poses in ‘Funny Looking’.

Easily the highlight of ‘Continental Fistfight’, though, is the Bandits latest single, ‘Dad’s Best Friend’. With a screaming, thumping chorus, the lyrics reveal intimate, increasingly bleak details about a salmon-shirted 40-something man who’s desperate, despicable and worryingly familiar. Somehow it manages to tread the line between uncomfortably grim and crudely funny.

Don’t expect all new material however. Old hits ‘Horse Outside’, ‘Spoiling Ivan’, ‘Spastic Hawk’ and ‘Up the RA!’ are all revisited. That said, they’re every one a fan favourite, and ‘Spoiling Ivan’ is such a cracking tune that Boyzone might even benefit from getting some musical advice from their fellow countrymen.

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