• By Kat Pope
  • |
  • 20th May 2013
  • |
  • ★★★★★

Onto the stage bursts an Oxford-boater chappy, a Miles Jupp-a-like, and a guy who's wandered in from the production of Abigail's Party playing next door.

I came away feeling I'd seen some very cleverly constructed comedy.

The talk soon turns to shaved nipple areas of course, for these men are Beasts a.k.a. Owen Roberts, James McNicholas and Ciaran Dowd.

Over the next hour we're treated to some of the most finely crafted comedy I've seen this Fringe. And not only is it finely crafted, it's actually funny. My son who, being 14, is not prone to laughter, guffawed along with the rest of us (it was either that or he had his headphones in).

Filling the tiny Three and Ten stage, this trio of very silly men run through some crackling and corkerous sketches. We discover how the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have grown old, bitter and, in one case, dead. Ditto with poor, behatted Wally who 'just got tired of hiding'. A logical take on the Three Little Pigs story, with some rather good abuse from the porker and growing bafflement from the wolf, works perfectly, while the Schrödinger's Cat sketch is so excellently judged that I reckon it's my 'Comedy Moment of This Year's Fringe'.

Beasts are equally at home with short punning gags as with full-on sketches, and a particularly daft one which I didn't see coming started the whooping cough I'd just got rid of back up again, so thanks for that guys - you nearly did a 'Goodies' on me (or did I nearly do a 'Goodies' on you?)

What gives this troupe an edge is the acting chops brought to it by Roberts and McNicholas. They give it a solidity, while Dowd gives it an uplift with his overeager, wide-eyed puppy bounce. This is played on nicely when he suddenly turns all stalkerish on a member of the audience – it's just not quite what you'd grown to expect from him.

I came away feeling I'd seen some very cleverly constructed comedy. Sometimes that just means I come out of the venue with a light bulb over my head, finger to pursed lips. This time it meant I'd nearly died laughing.

Reviews by Kat Pope

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
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The Blurb

Enticed down from the mountains with the promise of raw meat, BEASTS have conspired to craft for your delectation a selection of slick, hilarious and "sublimely surprising" (The List) sketches. "Slick, surreal and wonderfully unique" **** (Broadway Baby), "One of the slickest sketch shows of this year’s fringe" **** (The List), "Side-splittingly funny" **** (Three Weeks)

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