Musical comedy duo Horse and Louis attempt to take their brand of zany, self-aware songs to the next level, indulging in madcap special effects and a paranormal storyline for their show The Curse of Horse and Louis.
Relying on acoustic guitar songs and sketches, the titular characters fight a supernatural hex and tell jokes whilst doing so.
Whilst The Curse gets off to a good start – launching with a song about how the two are not like Flight of the Conchords – the quality diminishes from this point onwards, and that opening track only serves to remind the audience of what they could have seen. It takes better comics than these two to provide laughs in between songs, and despite their music being technically competent, they fail to tie the show together coherently or amusingly.
The tools with which Horse and Louis build up the first fifteen minutes of the performance appear to be dropped afterwards; knowingly-awful jokes delivered with gusto are funny only once and Horse and Louis revisit that particular gag three times. The inconsistency of their style of humour and pace lead to an awkward juxtaposition, swerving at one point between ironic self-awareness and a poorly conceived rape joke.
Despite these flaws, the duo appeared to hold the crowd in the palms of their hands by the time their hour was up, leading the whole audience in song for the climax – they seemed to be comfortable with the more pantomimic sections of the show. However, each of the attempts at more adult humour fell flat – in particular the section during which one performer pretended to be a penis came across as lewd and schoolboyish rather than the witty, surreal comedy they imagined it to be.
Horse and Louis’ real curse, it seems, is one of poor material and delivery, rather than the more theatrical kind of hex that they place at the centre of this disappointing show.
Originally published here, on Broadway Baby.