Children of Twelchford is a rough and ready fifty minutes of free comedy from youthful quartet Ship of Fools, who claim to hail from the eponymous, unappealing and entirely imaginary town of Twelchford. Featuring four comic performers, one stuffed owl and two bee costumes, this short, sharp slice of comedy showed definite moments of promise even if overall it was a little uneven.
The company are clearly creative and there are plenty of good ideas, although some are more original than others. A repeated gag where a couple talks directly to an imaginary documentary camera about their relationship, only to discover some horrible truth about each other, seems to have been cribbed directly from Armstrong and Miller, though those particular skits were funny enough that it was generally forgivable. While yesterday’s audience were generally kept entertained, there were a fair few jokes that didn’t come off and sketches that went on too long; one in particular that concerned a tour guide severely outstayed its welcome.
The sketches that work best are some of the odder ones; I especially enjoyed the bizarre glimpse into Twelchford’s poetry club, which featured some enjoyably over-the-top performances. A bizarre ‘Who’s on first?’ routine involving Marx and Engels was also surprisingly entertaining. A gimmick liberally employed throughout was a small stuffed toy named the ‘suicide owl’, for whom we were instructed to cheer every time he appeared. As a reaction-provoking stunt it was acceptable enough, though it was a little overused and the audience did begin to tire of it (save for two gentlemen sat behind me, who either knew the performers or were just very happy to be involved).
You’re unlikely to be blown away by Children of Twelchford, but the performers are game enough and everyone has clearly worked hard. There’s talent on display, and plenty of good ideas, it could perhaps just have benefited from some tighter script editing and a stronger line-up of sketches. Still, as a free comedy show it’s by no means bad, and worth your time if you’re near Bannermans on an afternoon and fancy a quick laugh.