Lorenzo Pacitti

Edinburgh Fringe review: McNeil and Pamphilon Go 8-Bit!

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The idea to develop a show combining comedy and video games will always sound dreamy to fans of both.

Imagine: the competitive edge of local multi-player gaming, combined with a live, cheering audience and comedians at the controls adding extra colour to the already entertaining match-ups. However, in practice, there needs to be more than just a games console set up and a big screen. Thank God for McNeil and Pamphilon.

A Go 8-Bit show is unlike any live event you’ve ever been to. The audience participation, the use of its guests and its hilarious recurring segments make it an absolute comedy marvel. Expertly devised by the resident tech genius Rob, the show makes use of their audience’s smartphones, turning them into everything from voting panels to game controllers. It’s truly remarkable how sophisticated the tech is and it’s all executed flawlessly.

The audience is split into two teams, McNeil and Pamphilon. Despite the encouraged rivalry and booing of the opposition, it’s impossible not to love both hosts equally. Their ability as a double-act is immense, bouncing off each other constantly and delighting with their guest and audience interaction. They genuinely care about their team winning, which makes it all the more engrossing. Half because of their competitive gamer spirit, and half because of the loser’s punishment that awaits them in “The Danger Zone”.

Punishments are taken care of by the hilarious “Punishment Twat”, Will of Clever Peter. These aren’t token tasks that are easy completed; these are genuinely obscene, awful punishments. More credit should go to the hosts for even undertaking these in the middle of a live show.

The gaming matchups themselves are completely engaging, with teams screaming support and advice for their comedian and audience representative. The games chosen are classic local multiplayer titles with clear objectives, ensuring they make an exciting watch and are easy followed. Blow by blow commentary is creative and hilarious often matches are given an “8-Bit twist” which ups the ante even further and creates even more opportunity for laughs.

Segments involving special guests are also real treats; there isn’t one area of the show that drags. Sketch group BEASTS covered a pause for preparation with a brilliant video-game themed sketch and the 8-Bit legend “Video Game Guy” completed a gaming feat which has to be seen to be believed.

If you are reading this you are almost certainly a live comedy fan, in which case this is a must see event. If you are also a gaming fan, then this is the show you have been waiting for your entire life. Book tickets now.


Date of live review: 8 August 2014 @ Pleasance Dome

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