I found the premise of Do You Come Here Often? intriguing beforehand, a comedy involving two total strangers finding themselves forcibly stuck in a bathroom together for twenty-five years.
The recent press exposure given to the two stars of the show, Hamish McColl and Sean Foley, known collectively as The Right Size, further heightened my interest in the show. Following what was reported as a “triumphant” Edinburgh Festival run and a script that was originally conceived in a hotel bathroom in Norway; this show boasted admirably quirky credentials.
In the event, Do You Come Here Often? is a curious combination of nonsensical existentialism and farce. The two protagonists spend a great deal of time ruminating on their predicament and using a variety of music hall style props - both performers have plenty of opportunity to demonstrate a wide repertoire of skills. Such a wide and eclectic variety, in fact, that it wasn t until the final act that I got any real sense of this being a theatrical experience as opposed to a cabaret performance.
Both McColl and Foley exhibited great enthusiasm and energy throughout, enlivening an otherwise sparse stage setting. Their attempts at audience participation were handled with particular charm - providing relief, through regular asides, from the intrinsic claustrophobia created by the story line. At times, the music, too, fuelled the spell weaved by the performers with some startling and original interludes.
The real success of Do You Come Here Often? is in the accessibility of the comedy. It will appeal to those who enjoy dark humour as much as to those who enjoy more straightforward, traditional slapstick or farce.
In my opinion, The Right Size has a great future in the mainstream of British comedy to look forward to. Do You Come Here Often? is a laudable offering - no less than one would expect in the circumstances from a very talented double act.
Do You Come Here Often? is currently playing in rep with Kit and the Widow s new show Rummaging for Fluff. Both are part of Live at the Vaudeville, a new venture launched in December to bring the best of popular comedy and variety to the West End via one venue.
Jason Brown, January 1998