A Sketchy History

Huddled underground in a nuclear bunker, Three Men in a Boot attempt to recreate history as best they can whilst staving off hunger (and potentially another Ice Age). It’s a nice, open premise which allows plenty of leeway to play with historical inaccuracies in this well-paced and gently humourous hour of sketch comedy.

A show that’s polished and shows good potential from its performers.

The cast play up well to their token characters, often relying on filling the same shoes as the sketches progress. Wesley Nelson plays the straight man very well, acting up to Jack Saturn’s fabulously exaggerated figures. Olly Jackson is happy to take on roles of authority, which contrasts nicely with his nervous on-stage persona in between skits. It’s clear that the performers are comfortable on stage with one another and their chemistry carries the show during any weaker sketches.

Three Men in a Boot have a tendency to set up incredibly similar status structures in their sketches. Often we see a ruler (be it Emperor, Pharoah or Queen) in conversation with an advisor or second-in-command. Some of these sketches have a great pay-off, for example when revealing how exactly China deals with the Monguls, or a Tudor-based sketch allowing yet more over-the-top silliness from Saturn, they also run the risk of making scenes bleed into one another with not much variety in sketch structure.

The nature of sketch comedy is always bound to be hit-and-miss, but this is a nice offering from Three Men in a Boot which neatly ties everything together with the overarching premise of the show. At their best and most conceptual we see sketches which are reminiscent of Blackadder for their enjoyable bickering and power plays; at their weakest we see cheap sex jokes and a celebrity impersonation which whilst recognisable isn’t really good enough to justify a second recurrence. Nonetheless, the overall feel is a show that’s polished and shows good potential from its performers. 

Reviews by Louise Jones

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The Blurb

Sketch comedy trio Three Men in a Boot present... A Sketchy History! We all enjoy a stroll through time. But are the telly boxes, inhabited by greying yet illustrious historians, really telling the truth? A Sketchy History presents the real issues that those lucky people who lived before Twitter had to deal with. Who invented the cake? Why was Robin Hood so concerned with fiscal policy? Did I leave the gas on?! Praise for previous writing: 'historical hilarity... witty and erudite writing' (Oxford Student). 'Genuinely original and hilarious' (Cherwell).