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VINE VOICEon 7 December 2009
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Ok, before I start I'll warn you -- this is a dry and dusty critique! Sometimes, it's a useful thing.
This fourth radio series from Mitchell & Webb finds our heroes well and truly ensconced in the public's comic consciousness. Between Webb's film appearances, Mitchell's game panel supremo status, the radio and television versions of their sketch shows and oh, let's not forget that show they do on Channel 4 -- you know the one I mean -- they're second only to John Barrowman, perhaps, in the broadcasting ubiquity stakes. But isn't it said that familiarity breeds contempt?
Well, I'm pleased to say that Mitchell & Webb's fourth radio series is every bit as funny as the preceding three. Which is to say that five out of seven sketches hits the funny bone. But I don't mean that as a direct criticism -- it's the nature of sketch-based comedy shows to be a mixed bag, and the trick of it is simply to maintain a higher ratio of hits than misses and keep things varied and speedy: the chaps fulfil this consistently.
There are many stand-out sketches in this run, many of which have been touched on by other reviewers, with the recurring sketches in particular having a cumulative brilliance, especially when the series is listened to in one or two sittings: the Stargate sketches and the Old Ladies Job Interviews are worth mentioning here.
In fact, many of their comedy ideas are based on a simple, Blackadderish principle: take something extraordinary and place it within the mundane, or vice versa. I mention this because you will notice A LOT of this across the series. So, it turns out that having a wooden boy for a son is not only a bit creepy, but downright irritating if you're trying to impress a girl on a date, people who work near an interdimensional portal would indeed nip through it for a sneaky fag break and celebrities would undergo Dr Moreau-meets-Frankenstein-style surgery just to make it big on a reality game show. Actually that last one's not so implausible...
So, what I'm trying to say in a roundabout way is: if you've never heard any Mitchell & Webb (where've you been?!) this is an excellent and roaringly funny point to start. If you know their schtick well...well, you too will enjoy this as you did the previous others. If you don't like `em, don't even go here -- things haven't changed for you!
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Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Before they were all pervasive on the television, Mitchell and Webb had a highly successful radio show, which is still running. The Mitchell and Webb sound contains the same style of humour as the Mitchell and Web Look, but as it is on the radio there is more opportunity for situations that would be harder to realise on the screen, and for your imagination to really work.

Each episode os a collection of sketches, with several running gags, such as the Stargate and the old lady hearings, mixed in with lots of hilarious one off sketches. The style of humour is a great cross between observational humour and whacky goon show style situations. They excel at taking slightly absurd real life situations and taking them one step further towards the ridiculous with great laughs as the result. The writers are clearly very erudite, and this leads to a more intelligent style, that I thoroughly enjoy.

Presented here is all six episodes from the fourth series, broadcast August/Sept 2009 on Radio 4. There are 3 discs, 2 episodes per disc, collected into a double jewel case. There is a sparse inlay with brief biographies of Mitchell and Webb and chapter points for each episode.

A great CD, this should be in the collection of all lovers of witty Cambridge style humour.
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on 17 December 2009
Now, I expect to be ridiculed for this but here goes: Mitchell and Webb should be put in the same bracket as Morecambe and Wise and The Two Ronnies. There, I've said it. Better justify my argument then. Mitchell and Webb have slogged through the horrible days of starting off on early digital tv, bbc 2 and finally being promoted to BBc1. However the radio series is where they have worked through their ideas and this is the series that was broadcast earlier this year on radio 4 in the 6:30 comedy slot. Whilst series 4 does slightly sound that they are now flying into the mainstream - Mitchell on every panel show going and Webb doing um...... something ( the film confetti was awful however) it is however still containing nuggets of comedy gold. Series 2 is probably the best of that mitchell and Webb sound but you won't go far wrong with this christmas present (3 hours of comedy instead of listening to your relatives arguing about getting the wrong size batteries for christmas gifts.
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VINE VOICEon 6 February 2010
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
About three hours worth of classic BBC Radio 4 Comedy. Witty and worthy sketches in the "Beyond the Fringe" tradition. Good to pass the time on a commute or long drive.

The sketches sometimes stray a bit close to the world of "ooh, Betty" and Grace Brothers, or even earlier - the "Stargate" sketch seems faintly Ealing Comedy, with factories that maybe never existed outside films and television. Some of the running sketches stretch a bit thin, and sadly no surprising adventures of Sir Digby Chicken Ceasar, but a good ratio of laugh our lound moments nonetheless. If you've not heard it before, the "Job Justification Hearings" is an utterly wonderful idea, handled more gently than you'd expect given David Mitchell's trademark acerbic wit. The sketch show format doesn't give much scope for the apt, lightening humour he displays on panel shows - this is more "pipe and slippers" stuff: comfortable, rather than edgy. Polished, enjoyable stuff.
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Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
For me, Mitchell and Webb have always been funnier on radio than on TV.

The TV show sketches can be hit and miss, but on radio they're wittier and a lot more inventive (I'm guessing their ideas can sometimes be too big and expensive to be physically created for television.) They also avoid the TV problem of overlong sketches going nowhere. The radio version is far faster and punchier.

So if radio is the perfect medium for Mitchell and Webb, these CDs are perfect for laugh out loud distraction. These CDs will carry you laughing through any rubbish housework you've been avoiding, long journeys or plain old down in the dumps times. Roll on series 5!
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VINE VOICEon 23 November 2009
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Given the post-ironic and irreverent referencing style of Mitchell and Webb, it feels a little daunting to write a review on their work. After all, I wouldn't be surprised if I haven't missed some sketch they've written and performed that parodies the online reviewer! Nevertheless, I will take the plunge and compound that cliché with the remark Mitchell and Webb make a triumphant return to radio with their fourth series of "That Mitchell and Webb" sound.

I write this in the era of post-political correctness - post-everything it seems. It is a time where self aware comedy artists like Steve Coogan and Ricky Gervais are now institutions - ones that are ripe for being sent up. This is the era that is perfect for the likes of David Mitchell and Robert Webb, Cambridge educated artists that have grown up marinating in the influences of other Cambridge educated artists like Monte Python and whose careers took off long after the heyday of the Comedy Store style of comedy in the late `80s and early `90s. Their style of humour comes of out a time of rational scepticism and where awkward lack of self awareness has become an accepted comedy device. Politcal and populist satire is present, but it is offered up as part of the variety rather than being at the heart of the show. Added to this is their own brand of absurdity reminiscent of the Python influence, but very much their own.

The absurdity is applied, in typical British style, to sending up everything from a typical office manager having to deal with an inter-dimensional stargate to Superman helping out with a flip chart. We even see scepticism cast over the moral of a much loved folk tale as the case of "Peter and the Wolf" is brought to trial. Peter's uncle tries to justify the obvious lack of logic in not hearing the savage violence of a wolf slaughtering his unarmed nephew and flock of sheep despite admitting he could hear the prepubescent boy crying wolf! On the subject of justification an excellent new ongoing sketch introduced into series four is the Old Ladies Job Justification Committee. The validity and purpose of modern jobs like wedding arranger, PR person and cosmetic surgeon are called into question and set against the functionality and honesty of running a "little shop".

Not all of Mitchell and Webb's work has been a great success. Their foray into feature films was not a huge success. However, David Mitchell is now a regular on various comedy programmes both on and off the TV, and "The Peep Show" is a clear favourite among young adults and 30 somethings. Nevertheless, their style, exhibited in fine form on this CD, is still fresh and very funny.
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Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I am a fan of Mitchell & Webb on the television and also have their DVD's.
These shows are an excellent radio adaptation of their TV sketch shows with mostly fresh stuff.
My personnel favourite are the old lady job interviews which run through out the episodes and are laugh out loud funny. I found everything else at least made me smile and helps pass a long journey in the car.
There is no bad language so is also fine for the whole family.
Top class entertainment and i will buy any others they care to produce.
I can't say fairer than that, i recommend you buy this.
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VINE VOICEon 13 January 2010
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I've been a fan of Mitchell & Webb for a good few years now, Peep Show is one of my favourite programmes on TV, getting better and better with each series and 'That Mitchell & Webb Look' is both extemely clever and very funny and rewards repeated viewing. I was aware that the latter TV series is their own work (unlike Peep Show) and stemmed from a radio show they had been doing for a number of years on Radio 4, though not being a Radio 4 listener I have never managed to hear it.

Listening to an audiobook is a somewhat new experience for me and being such a fan of theirs I decided to give this a go in the car on a recent trip to London and back (I live in Somerset). I was interested to see if the humour works as well in an audio-only context and was not disappointed. The format takes a while to get used to, I couldn't imagine just sitting at home and listening, you'd need to be doing something else, but their humour is as potent as ever and I was not disappointed.

3 discs with 3 hours is very good value and I expect to be listening again, dipping in and out, very soon. The amount of material contained here is phenomenal and maintains a very high standard throughout, illustating their genius and obviously prolific writing. It's also nice to have familiar voices, such as the ever-present Olivia Colman, pop up and I look forward to perhaps seeing some of these sketches appear in forthcoming a series of the TV show.
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VINE VOICEon 26 February 2010
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
If you've come across David Mitchell or Robert Webb before, you probably don't need convincing that they're both witty comedians, nor would you take much persuading that they make some of the best comedy television programmes on offer these days (Peep Show, That Mitchell and Webb Look).

You might be uncertain about a radio show. I know I was. But as they started in radio before migrating into visual comedy, they've had plenty of time to get it right. For a few minutes I kept thinking how the jokes were different to the ones they do in their TV show, but soon enough I was laughing so hard I didn't care. The comedy is as good as you've seen anywhere else, rooted firmly in the real world but taken one step towards the ridiculous, punctuated with hilarious surrealism, just as their clever and urbane sense of humour is punctuated with the odd "lowbrow" gag. It stops the shows from becoming monotonous one-trick ponies, which is vital in keeping you laughing as hard at the end as you were at the beginning.

If you're a fan of Mitchell and Webb and you've got a CD player, there's no reason you shouldn't own this. And if you're not already a fan? At this price it's hard to go wrong, and you won't be punished for trying. Although if you listen to it on public transport, you may get a few funny looks.
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VINE VOICEon 25 November 2009
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Although I'm a fan of Peep Show, I had never heard Mitchell and Webb's radio show and so this wasn't something I would normally have listened to. But I'm very glad I did! While there are a few slightly lacklustre moments (mainly on Disc 2), for the most part this is a hugely enjoyable, very clever and sometimes laugh-out-loud funny collection of sketches. My favourite is the panel of old ladies who, in a future civilisation presided over by Joanna Lumley, decide whether or not a person's job is worthwhile. Bring in the cosmetic surgeon: "But do you make people better dear?" the PR person: "But why?" and the Futures Trader: "So really it's gambling?"
The gap 14th century gap year traveller sketch is superb, and several others also stand out and deserve to become classics.
Conversely, the silly game show sections (remember Number Wang on the TV) I found increasingly unclever and irritating, a joke that has gone on for too long. And some sketches, although they had the odd good line, just weren't that funny.

Where Mitchell and Webb get it right, they really do get it right and this is a very enjoyable and nicely presented compilation. It's probably also worth mentioning that the sound quality is superb, you don't miss a word.

I enjoyed it, hope you do too.
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