In this farcical one-hour romp through the troves of storybook tropes, Fringe sketch regulars Casual Violence treat the audience to a kids-show-for-adults style adventure into a world of murder, double-crossing, conjoined twins and baked goods. Breaking from their usual sketch format, the narrative-based hour is well constructed with flashbacks and set-pieces galore, but doesn’t pack in enough laughs to take this show to the next level.
You can see the group’s sketch roots shining through in the piece
The story follows the young Master Nostril who, following his father’s gruesome murder, vows to seek vengeance upon his killers. What then unfolds is a series of quick-fire skits which follow Master Nostril’s dastardly plans as they come to fruition. Throw in a subplot about a foundation that grants wishes recorded within magical birthday cakes and a wannabe narrator who never gets to tell his Gherkin-based adventure tale and you’ve got the makings of this production.
You can see the group’s sketch roots shining through in the piece - the best moments coming from the silly wordplay and joyfully awful puns, with some perfectly pitched self-acknowledgement of the quality of gags adding a dash of intelligence to the comedy. Some very nice sight gags add to the chaos.
While well sculpted, the show does dip a little around the middle. In a show like this a loss of energy really pulls the show back, making the push through to the end more of a struggle than it really should be. While some well-timed ad libs and witty in-jokes serve to add a little spice to the second half of the show, the need to resolve the story proves a stylistic hindrance. While this has the potential to be a hit, a little more energy and comedic thrust through to the finish of the show would lift it to the big leagues of Fringe comedy.