There’s nothing like catching a live show at a casino on the Las Vegas strip. The bright lights! The extravagance! The gambling addicts you pass on the way in! The tired look in the eyes of performers who’ve been doing the same show every night for years! Yes sir, nothing like it in the world!
The Burton Brothers (Tom and Josh Burton) have been performing in Las Vegas for five years now. The once innocent and ambitious showmen have obtained everything they wanted, smack dab in the middle of a ten-year residency they signed on for without a second thought. Now every night they run through the same show at the fabulous Nice Dice Casino. But there’s a catch! The contract they signed in blood to the fiendish Casino owner has a Rumpelstiltskin clause and the devil has come to collect!
Now with their very freedom on the line, the brothers must put on the show of their lives. There will be singing, magic, amazement, shock and maybe even a forced marriage. What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas and but these two brothers are just hoping to stay together.
The hilarious Burton Brothers are back with a revival of their hit show from this year’s Melbourne Comedy Festival. The pair, whose inspirations include Flight of the Conchords, The Mighty Boosh, as well as Lano & Woodley, have been entertaining audiences for years. With their fresh mix of sketch comedy and improvisation, the brothers have made a name for themselves as two of the funniest young Melbourne comedians working today.
I was lucky enough to catch the brothers in action already this year’s Fringe Festival as special guests to fellow comedic duo Jon & Jero. The brothers had the audience in hysterics. Putting in just as much effort and getting just as many laughs as the lead performers.
While their latest show Vegas Residency does have something of a story to it, this is of course just a means to set up the sketches. I’ve been to Las Vegas (not to toot my horn) and amongst the crazy glitz and glamour, there is most definitely plenty to poke fun at.
The show parodies a variety of Vegas acts you would see on the strip. There’s the spectacle and questionable animal ethics of Siegfried and Roy, the magical prowess of Penn & Teller, the “forgetaboutit”s of Frank Sinatra, not to mention all the singing and dancing you’d expect from a Vegas act… performed at Trades hall.
And where would Vegas be without Elvis impersonators and weddings brought around by poor long term thinking? Greedy casino billionaires and shady fortune tellers? All this and more is fodder for the Burton Brothers in this hilarious hour of comedy.
As someone close to my brother, I can appreciate the connection between Tom and Josh Burton and the creativity that brings. The two easily play off each other in ways many double acts could only wish about. So, the laughs never stop as skits go to completely insane to places you never expect. The audience is often pulled into the show itself to participate and the coup de grâce slowly builds over the course of the night. With “The Prestige” (to use a magician’s term and Christopher Nolan film) being an amazing reveal which ties the whole act together.
The duo’s fondness for improv is on full display throughout. While Vegas acts may need to put on the same show nightly, something which makes Vegas Residency so special is in its spontaneity. The show is scripted but they are consistently trying to crack each other up as much as the audience. If off-the-cuff gags work, then it’s great. If they don’t work, then often that’s even funnier as the brothers ride each other for their failed attempts.
Tom and Josh Burton’s: Vegas Residency is a fantastic show for fans of sketch comedy. It features fast paced over the top humour and an instinctive casual wit. Completely ridiculous and equally entertaining, this duo is sure to have big things in their future.
Vegas Residency is currently playing at Festival Hub: Trades Hall – Corner Store as part of 2023 Melbourne Fringe until October 22nd.
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Photography by Tiana Hogben and Simon McCulloch.