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Marion and Geoff

Rob Brydon stars in this well-written and well-acted comedy vehicle.

Masterly in its veracity and Pooteresque banality, Marion & Geoff is as near-flawless as The Office.

Marion and Geoff by Rob Brydon

Originally broadcast in 10-minute segments on BBC2, Marion & Geoff is a very funny if at times unrelentingly bleak comedy in which Rob Brydon plays Keith, a hapless cuckold who addresses us via a camcorder set up in his mini-cab. The Marion and Geoff of the title are his estranged wife and her new lover, though as Keith--who never fails to perceive a bright side to his utterly dismal existence--says, "I don't feel I've lost a wife, I've gained a friend."

Through his monologues, we learn that Keith has a room in a student house where banging techno is played day and night; that in order to make the journey to see his two boys, he must make an overnight journey from London to Cardiff by car; that his only friend is a tollbooth operator (though the operator doesn't seem to know it) and that, although he's been driving a minicab for a while, he's yet to pick up a fare.

Keith's attempts to buy presents for his children generally backfire ("I've kept the receipts. I learned that from my old dad. He always used to say keep the receipts"), no more heartrendingly so than in an evidently disastrous attempt to pay a surprise visit to the newly attached Marion and the kids in Disneyland. As he hugs the tiny Winnie the Pooh puppets he's tried to give to his children, his uniformly chipper tone wavers momentarily and the comedy threatens to darken into something like tragedy. However, Keith's indomitable if inappropriate optimism eventually enables him to bumble through.

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