British comedy duo Dan Lees and Neil Frost present The Establishment: Le Bureau de Strange. In outlandish, colourful suits complete with bowler-hats and bowties, they deliver an absurd, joyful, sometimes exasperating and at other times delightfully wacky hour of comedy.
In classic British comedy style, a catch-phrase emerged throughout the evening echoing the famous phrase “Mr Humphries are you free?” from the BBC1 classic Are You Being Served? Only this time it was “So who thinks we've started?”, successfully rattling the audience from their Fringe stupor, accustomed to a hands-off, sit back comedy experience.
It's best you know now, The Establishment: Le Bureau de Strange, is very much an audience participation situation. Unbeknownst to me, I was seated between my partner only henceforth referred to as The Vicar and a lady beside me who was now the Queen. (Coronation, crown and all.)
As you can probably tell, the show oscillates between confusing and wonderfully warm and entertaining. Highlights include the newspaper segment, spontaneous games like “Why Should My Mum Fall for You?” and the incredible genius of the St George and the Dragon song which I still find myself whistling.
A marriage of slapstick and improv, this show is like The Little Engine That Could. Relentless in its determination to move forward, over, and under any obstacle – even if the obstacle is the audience – grappling with the rules of the strange universe they'd been dropped into.
Infectious in its energy, the terrific chemistry shared by Lees and Frost extends into the audience, warming up to a rolling boil by the end of the night. These expert comedians exude a quiet confidence and a tangible joy for their craft that is unique to comedy.