As always, there are a multitude of comedy sketch shows at this year’s Fringe. With all this competition in mind, it is important for hopefuls to stand out in any way possible. Unfortunately, Graham Rex fails to provide anything more than a few titters at overtired and unoriginal jokes.The Inbetweeners-esque comedy is unsophisticated and the show often errs on the side of simple childishness. The stagecraft of the four-man troupe also leaves a lot to be desired. The piece feels under-rehearsed and moments of corpsing and talking over each other are irritating and happen all too frequently. Characters are underdeveloped and rarely distinguishable from each other, making callbacks to previous scenes largely unnoticed until the last minute. The comedians largely look uncomfortable onstage too and shuffle and fidget like children in a nativity.
There are small glimmers of potential in the show. The Calvin and Hobbes sketch shows strong signs of originality and well-crafted comedy, for example. The concepts of the majority of the sketches need refining and elaborating as the hit-rate for laughs simply isn’t there. There is potential for this group but it will take a lot of work to extract the best sketches from them. At an hour the show feels overlong and the demise of the comedians’ energy was palpable in the face of an unresponsive audience.
This is not a show that will have you rolling in the aisles, no matter what your tastes are. As a preliminary attempt at the Fringe, Graham Rex should probably just chalk this one up to experience.