The Adventurers Club – The Great Arctic Caper

CREATING a comedy show that appeals to both kids and grown-ups is notoriously difficult, yet in The Adventurers Club Tim FitzHigham and Tiernan Douieb make it look easy.

Partly, this is due to their gags often operating on two levels – a straightforward laugh for the young, a more knowing laugh for the old – but the real secret of this show’s success is the extent to which the duo are prepared to put their fate in the hands of the junior members of their audience. Not only do the kids on the beanbags at the front of the Pleasance Igloo get a kick out of making the two grown men on stage do silly things, their parents get to chuckle away at the utter impossibility of some of the tasks the harassed-looking actors are required to perform.

The anarchic mood is set from the start when FitzHigham, resplendent in red hunting jacket and pith helmet, explains that before setting off for the Arctic in search of Sir John Franklin (still alive, apparently, after chowing down on his shoes for the last century-and-a-half), the audience need to come up with three rules that he and Douieb must abide by for the duration of their adventure. Things reach a new plane of silly when FitzHigham attempts to draw a map of the world to help them get there, starting with the countries the kids in the audience are from. In the performance I saw, a little boy in the front row said he was from Indonesia. Watching FitzHigham attempting to draw that nation’s 13,466 islands was priceless. And what were the chances that the next little girl would be from Lithuania? You couldn’t have made it up.

Finally equipped with a map of sorts, FitzHigham and Douieb construct a plane out of furniture and children and fly to the Arctic where they encounter a polar bear, then Franklin himself (a pleasingly laconic cameo from Craig Campbell). That’s in no way giving the game away: the great thing about this show is that it will be brilliantly, ludicrously different every single time it’s performed. Round up the family and go.