Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Project 365 (103/365): Barry And Stuart

.:103/365: Barry And Stuart:.

Barry and Stuart, based on their accents, are Scottish magicians who perform mainly in London. They’ve taken inspiration from Biblical accounts for some of their illusions, and are very well-known for their bizarre, at times crude sense of humor.

If I were to compare them to other magicians of days past, they’d be like an even edgier version of Penn and Teller, as hard as that may be to imagine. What Penn and Teller manage to convey in their own way, Barry and Stuart manage to amplify tenfold, even if in reality, their respective subject matters aren’t that far apart from each other at all.

I think what really makes these two guys tick is the fact that they have taken the duo act into a different level altogether, thanks to the trail laid down by Penn and Teller. I have an inkling Barry and Stuart wouldn’t claim any inspiration from the former two, but even if that were the case, I feel compelled to compare them to P and T since they really are the epitome of a tandem act to me.

Unlike Penn and Teller, Barry and Stuart both talk. When I look at it that way, my tandem with Jay Mata may appear to have more in common with Barry and Stuart, except for the fact that the antagonism Jay experiences when I’m in his company is vintage Penn and Teller all the way. What I like about Barry and Stuart though is that they have a wide variety of routines that go above and beyond traditional magic. For all intents and purposes, no matter how Penn and Teller dress up their routines, nearly all of their routines are still couched in the notions of traditional magic, merely giving them scripts that overcome this fact.

Barry and Stuart’s biblical routines are one thing, but their surreal performance arts also put them in a distinct place, as they manage to capture a different market altogether, not to mention the fact that they can play off of their good looks, which is obviously something that is not readily available in Penn and Teller’s arsenal at all.

I can easily say that I find Barry and Stuart a great duo, but their humor might not exactly tickle everyone’s funny bones. This is weird, considering how they’re not the only ones out there who use black humor to get their point across, but there’s just something that seems very decidedly unhumorous about how they do it sometimes that you tend to take them a wee bit more seriously. It may or may not be good for them in the end, but so far, this unique selling point has reaped dividends for the duo, and for that, they deserve a lot of praise.

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