The key to successful comedy is getting your audience onside. Once they’re safely in your back pocket, you can do whatever you like – fluff your lines; laugh at your own jokes; trip over props. The cast of Jigsaw do all this and more, yet it doesn’t matter one bit. The comic trio are smart enough to ensure their audience is onside from the very outset; the rest is a rip-roaring formality.
The house is full, the heat is high and the stage is set for Jigsaw to get jiggy. We want laughs – lots of ‘em – and we want them delivered in bite-size chunks. We get exactly what we came for, because this is sketch comedy and not just regular sketch comedy – one inspired skit followed by three clunkers – but superior sketch comedy that dispenses laughs like a demented tennis ball machine.
There are lots of things to love about Dan Antopolski, Tom Craine and Nat Luurtsema. They’re young for starters and they’re also funny, which is good because we like funny in this country – especially when it’s coupled with lashings of silly. Young; silly; funny – is there anything else worth knowing? Oh, they’re also cool. We know our trio are cool because they play Skrillex and Beastie Boys between sketches and use an iPhone as a prop. Then there’s their final and greatest attribute of all: complete mastery over the laws of space and time. Otherwise, how could else could this hour of comedy have zapped by so quickly? It’s uncanny and yet there’s no danger of the audience leaving with the feeling that they’ve been short-changed.
Running gags about Jägerbombs, a lecherous Santa and the dying wishes of a sperm donor rattle by, the razor-sharp script enacted with perfect comedic timing. This trio might be cool, but they’re not so achingly cool as to balk at making fools of themselves when the situation demands it. Their audience interaction is unconvincing, and a couple of sketches fall flat, but these are minor complaints.
Later, as you look back over another day of intense Fringe action from the comfort of the bar, you’ll struggle to recall many of Jigsaw’s sketches. It doesn’t matter though; for 60 lightning-fast minutes the show provides ‘total entertainment’ – a phrase which may sound like it’s destined for a Sky commercial, but which can be taken as an unfettered compliment for now. There’s probably a puzzle piece pun begging to be dropped into this review to wrap it up, but the truth is, it doesn’t need one. If you’re looking for puns, satire and lulz in illegal quantities, don’t read about Jigsaw – go and see it. All the cool kids will be there.