In Cahoots: Two White Guys

It’s hot in the Pleasance This: hot and dark and funny. Performed in one corner of this big tin box, In Cahoots: Two White Guys is back-to basics, character-driven sketch comedy, starring two talented blokes, Luke Manning and Paul G Raymond. Right off the bat, the audience is plunged into their world: the reversal of stereotypes, colliding scenarios, and mismatching perspectives are the background structure of these ‘white guys’ (one of them is white, the other is not; it’s part of the gag) and their character and performance driven skits.

A few exceptionally strong sketches, built on fully fleshed-out ideas and supported by Luke and Paul’s virtuoso characterisation knocks the overall average of the show up a league.

Paul’s sweet, innocent, face does performative backflips, deftly hopping between comedic tones and shifting gears with perfect timing. Both are talented performers, occasionally tipping over into requisite histrionics, once or twice because the sketch felt like it had nowhere to go, but mostly because the moment deserved it.

These guys know how to build tension too: no staccato rhythm, as is the case with some sketch shows, nor is this a flash in the pan of performative energy, but rather a steady rise in pace towards the concluding sketches, sprinkled with surrealist twists.

Improvisation is not the In Cahoots’ strongest suit, however: there’s some hit-and-miss audience participation, and on this night it turned into a bit of a shambles, though it feels churlish to hold it against them: this is a heart-warming and hilarious sketch show with bags of personality, not an improvised piece. Still, it felt as though more could have been done to rescue the moment from inadvertent audience sabotage.

However, the show’s biggest problem is the lack of a metaphorical ‘punchline’ for many sketches; in fact this structural and habitual issue gets lampshaded in one meta-tastic sketch. The problem runs through the spine of the show, strong in some places and weaker in others: the more polished ones often have brilliant conclusions, which round off the skit, and constitute the meat of it. Others, sadly, feel like orphaned children, abandoned once the character work is out the door. And yet the conclusion revisits these disparate sketches, tying them up in a balanced little lattice of connections; sometimes shoehorned in, but for the most part the denouement feels justified.

A few exceptionally strong sketches, built on fully fleshed-out ideas and supported by Luke and Paul’s virtuoso characterisation knocks the overall average of the show up a league.

In terms of dry humour and comedic energy, In Cahoots are genuinely a real hoot: as the Fringe wears on Two White Guys is only going to get more performative polish. 

Reviews by Josh Adcock

Rialto Theatre

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★★★
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★★★★
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★★★
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★★★★
Laughing Horse @ The Free Sisters

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

Join In Cahoots for an hour of sharp, silly sketches as they take on life's greatest mysteries and mundanities. A thrillingly fast-paced, uniquely British sketch comedy show from a hotly tipped duo, and there’s only one white guy – thank God. As seen on the BBC. 'Simply hilarious' ***** (ThreeWeeks). 'Raucously funny and massively varied sketches' ***** (BroadwayBaby.com). 'Ingenious' ***** (EdinburghReporter.co.uk). 'Endlessly entertaining' ***** (Black Diamond FM). 'Edinburgh, you are in for a treat' ***** (ThePublicReviews.com).