Idiots of Ants ANThology

Idiots of Ants absolutely hate the fourth wall. They smash through it with a regularity and enthusiasm rarely seen from other sketch groups. Right from the get go in this showcase of their best sketches from the last five years, Idiots of Ants set about deconstructing the sketch format with a sequence depicting hapless Nazis and British interrogators appalled to discover that they are in fact only actors performing in front of an audience in Edinburgh. Cue existential crisis: Idiots of Ants mock their crummy chairs, their misty stage in what looks like a converted gym, and even their name in a self-effacing opener that sets the tone for things to come.

That self-effacing tone doesn't quite ring true though. Idiots of Ants may like to pretend that their show is thrown together cheaply and quickly to enhance their relatable, cheeky chappy vibe, but pay attention for even a moment and any notion of slapdash preparation quickly falls apart. Flashing stage lights, elaborate props, a huge projector screen providing backdrops for their sketches: in the grand scheme of sketch comedy at the Fringe this is about as Hollywood as it gets. Even the very concept of this show, essentially a greatest hits collection, screams of a degree of professional success that most sketch groups at the Fringe can only dream of.

There's a reason Idiots of Ants are so successful though, and it's precisely because they can pull off this sort of stunt. They have the strength and depth of sketches required to justify a retrospective. In fact they have more sketches than they need; this show runs considerably over its billed length of an hour. Despite that, none of the sketches feel superfluous, besides one bitterly disappointing sex change bit that at first promises an inventive twist on the shrill, overdone, Terry Jones inspired man-playing-woman sketch, only to degrade into a host of lazy gender gags that had the audience voicing their displeasure. Still, one bad single can't spoil a greatest hits album and one dud sketch doesn't bring down ANThology, a hilarious look back on the comedy career of four men who are a bigger deal than they like to admit.

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.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

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.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

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 multi award winners return with a greatest hits compendium hatched from five years of sell-out shows. All your favourites are present for this 'all killer, no filler' hour of fast paced sketch comedy. Book now! www.idiotsofants.com.

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