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Demi Lardner & Tom Walker – We Mustn't

20 May 2019 | 10:04 am | Dave Burrowes

"[B]rilliant, inventive and brave."

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Demi Lardner and Tom Walker are comic geniuses. That seems to be the best place to start when writing about the pair's surreal new show We Musn’t on at the Sydney Comedy Festival. 

The blurb for We Musn’t prepares us for the show by telling us that “Tom Walker and Demi Lardner are young twin brothers left alone at home. They mustn't get up to mischief, for father will be cross." It then warns punters that the show is strictly 18+ and contains "extreme nudity"  - the first sign that this isn’t your grandmother's comedy act about two young boys getting into trouble. In reality, this very loose premise binds together the pandemonium of bizarre and hilarious sketches, games and AV presentations.

From the moment the pair dance onto the stage in matching sailor boy outfits, to the final climatic (and particularly grotesque) moment as Walker fellates Lardner's tongue in a secret brothers' handshake, you sense that you’re witnessing something special. There’s a sense of danger to the show, like it might fall apart at any time, and that might just be the magic spark as Lardner and Walker (both natural improvisers) embrace, and even fuel, the chaos. The pair have incredible chemistry and trust, with such a big part of the show being clear attempts to make the other person laugh (or to throw them off). 

The carousel of bits come hard and fast, and all with a fairly liberal dose of absurdity. The boys’ father is a pair of legs and a booming voice, God is a talking vagina and The Feed’s Cameron James is a cockney-accented cum salesman. The show was provocative and outrageous, sure, but you sense that the duo are more interested in surprising and delighting their audience than to shock and offend. They create an atmosphere that makes you feel like you’re in on the joke, rather than just laughing at the punchline, and it's a thrill to be a part of.

We Musn’t had the audience roaring with laughter and reeling with delight. The duo work hard to subvert your expectations, to surprise and engage; they’re brilliant, inventive and brave. It’s a tremendous show from two bold, exciting and brilliant comedians at the top of their game and you should run to get to whatever either of them are doing next.

Performed as part of the Sydney Comedy Festival