The Dobie Brothers

Who is the title figure in Dobie McDobie (Flea Theater)? We'll never find out, because the alleged character in this faux narrative is an empty shell in a demented con game where the playing pieces are hollowed-out media formats: ad pitch, bio, TV news show. So, in the slippery hands of Paul Boocock and David Latham, the comedy team who are Premium Bob, Dobie is . . . an aircraft mechanic, a housewife, a thoracic surgeon with a specialty in liposuction. "Free Dobie!" scream protesters at a generic political demonstration. It's fill-in-the-blanks comedy where the blanks are the main attraction.

Premium Bob mashes this postgrad subversion into loony physical comedy that's gross, childish— and funny. In a mesmerizingly revolting bit, one bites off the other's nose with hyperrealistic chewing and slurping sounds. Agile shape-changers, the two can dissolve into quivering beavers with protruding teeth, or pop up as wonderfully Monty Python­esque Scotsmen arguing that the perfect vacation is to be headless on the beach.

Slickly directed by Gary Schwartz, who choreographs every move, Premium Bob are all style: slo-mo, syncopation, and glide. The gags come thick and fast, though not all of them work. Some of the word play they're known for is pretty flat here: a riff on diseases named after celebs (Slim Pickened, Hugh Downs Syndrome), a series of rock groups with Hitler in their name. But the duo does take on critical jargon with disarming hilarity. "Compelling innovative violence," they trill, "fresh new violence with a fresh new snap."

 
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