Strong acting, impressive tech and a relaxed conceit tie together the disparate elements of this show and imbue it with a very different vibe to the majority of the sketch shows you will see this month.
A sweet and highly enjoyable show.
Following their debut show at last year’s Fringe, Joe Barnes and Henry Perryment are back. The overarching framework - and it is a loose one - is that all the skits are situated within the passing of a single day. A large, lunar clock projected on the back wall begins the show at one minute past midnight, gradually moving through the day as the duo fit their sketches between set piece montages depicting morning, lunch and evening.
It is a vague theme but the slickness of this production gives its trajectory a precise momentum. Barnes and Perryment flow from sketch to sketch with total fluidity, relying heavily on carefully stylised choreography so that the show feels very highly polished. This combines with the show’s exquisite lighting and original score to create a sentimental atmosphere and beautiful aesthetic, which makes it stand out from other sketch shows.
That said, the show is not particularly funny. It feels like it’s been written less like comedy, more a dramatic exercise. The sundry array of characters we are shown require a wide range of styles and are all extremely well-acted, the two performers fantastic to watch. However, the sketches often extend for several minutes without much comic payoff, or at times the punchline they finally drop is a bit too obvious to warrant the long-windedness of the windup.
This certainly doesn’t stop it from being a sweet and highly enjoyable show. It is skilfully executed and features some very amusing moments - the uproariously posh couple reminiscing about their drug addled memories of the seventies is a highlight. A touching carpe diem sentiment seals the show poignantly and sends you away smiling.