Clever Peter: The Dreams Factory

A madcap romp through its creators’ bizarre imaginations, Clever Peter may be the weirdest sketch show you’ll ever see. Roman, Andy and Charles (Richard Bond, William Hartley, Edward Eales-White respectively) form advertising team ‘The Dreams Factory’. As they brainstorm ideas for their first assignment — rat-milk — they’re interrupted by Roman’s ‘advergasm’. “Picture this,” he begins…

Beneath its unsophisticated surface lies surprising wit.

The ensuing surreal, oddly touching advert about a rat-family and its self-sacrificing patriarch spins off into a narrative of its own, frequently reprised, which gives the show its tragicomic conclusion. It could be a blueprint for Clever Peter’s unfolding. One absurd concept is stacked atop another, becomes a third, and is acted out with a combination of riotous half-heartedness (cheap wigs, shoe-box props) and surprising skill (spot-on accents; Hartley’s mother-rat voice).

The send-ups of commercial jargon (“She consumes mainly through magazines”) and companies (Groupon, Lynx, McDonalds) are enjoyable, but it’s the trio’s fluid, hyperactive performance which really gets the audience going. The performers certainly have fun: at one point Bond, corpsing, turned his face from the stage as he shook with laughter. A kind of delighted redoubling of hysterics followed when the audience caught on.

Clever Peter won’t be to everyone’s taste. One scene staging a reality TV show episode involves a pot of jam and a dildo. But the audience seemed happy enough, and the sketch’s title — Would You Do This? — points up its satirical bent. Beneath its unsophisticated surface lies surprising wit.

Reviews by Aron Penczu

C venues - C nova

Bazaar and Rummage

★★★
Laughing Horse @ The Free Sisters

Shaggers

★★
Heroes @ Bob & Miss Behave's Bookshop

IndieRound (Fool Members Club) with Bob Slayer & Tim Fitzhigham

★★★
theSpace @ Symposium Hall

The Unholy Trinity

C venues - C too

Story Shakespeare: Much Ado About Nothing

★★★★
theSpace @ Jury's Inn

The Sorrows of Young Werther

★★★★

Performances

Location

The Blurb

Critically-acclaimed sketch group and stars of their own BBC Radio 4 series, Clever Peter return to Edinburgh. This year they invite you to The Dreams Factory... where imagination is King. (For up-selling please call 07789 022303). ‘Breakneck nonsense and hilarity’ (Times). ‘Terrific... If they don't go very far, soon, there's no such thing as British Justice. Clever? Not half’ (Daily Telegraph). ‘This goes one step beyond sketch - they make it an art form’ (Comedy.co.uk).