How the World Wags

Croydon's amateur dramatics club brings to the Fringe a perfectly nice but mediocre sketch show. It starts well, professional and well rehearsed, the small cast fluidly changing characters. The show produces some memorable caricatures, both surreal and satirical, and the sketches are imaginative.

Between each skit is a funny overhead train station announcement, bookending each scene and allowing the actors to change while keeping the audience entertained - a good idea. However, as the sketches are only a couple of minutes long, there are a lot of train announcements to squeeze into one hour. As most jokes revolve around the train service being delayed, these quickly become a repetitive annoyance.

Some of the sketches are quite funny and the sparsely populated audience keeps up a regular titter of laughter. Some of the puns are clever and there are some insightful moments about popular culture and people's general habits. However, these are patchy; there are also some groan-worthy puns and a few jokes are met by stony silence. Other sketches are so surreal it's difficult to know when to laugh.

The performers have excellent stage presence and are clearly talented, versatile actors. Occasionally they overplay and verge on hysterical, and the accents are a bit shaky.

Having said that, the final sketch is a comedy gem. TV detectives from Wallander, The Killing and Girl With a Dragon Tattoo team up with Midsomer Murders' Barnaby. The group should expand that into the entire show instead.

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.
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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.
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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 £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
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The Blurb

The best thing to come out of Croydon since rioting. How not to hack a celebrity's voicemail, the ultimate gathering of Scandinavian detectives, and many more... A plethora of sketches from three-time Empire 60s finalists.

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