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Flight of the Conchords have clearly had a big influence on this musical comedy pair. Some of I Am, I Am’s low-key raps and ditties are so similar to the New Zealand duo’s tunes it’s like watching a tribute act. But these two former Cambridge Footlights members manage to hold their own thanks to a charming nerdiness and a relaxed, easy chemistry.
‘Most of our songs are about girls,’ says Lowell Belfield – the weedy, child-faced half – at the top of the show. He’s not wrong. Failing with members of the opposite sex is a recurring theme in his and Harry Michell’s acoustic tunes.
It’s all very sweet and humble, but they’re at their funniest when having a stab at other topics. A song half way through the show, about being half way through the show, includes some sharp gags about audience members’ mid-point feelings, and there are strong, quirky lines in a number saying a reluctant ‘thank you’ to their parents, and it’s never overly sentimental. Lowell and Harry’s between-song banter is enjoyable, too. They’re confident yet easygoing, playfully ad-libbing and bouncing off one another.
But I Am, I Am’s comedic devices get quite repetitive. They too often interrupt their songs to explain the knowingly terrible joke, and they rely heavily on clumsily cramming too many syllables into a line to get an easy laugh.
‘This is a two star show,’ goes one of their between-song gags. ‘There are two stars in this show!’ That’s definitely a two-star joke, but the show’s a solid three.
‘I Am, I Am’ play the Gilded Balloon, 11.30pm