A late show, particularly a free one, will always attract the rowdy drunk hecklers and this gig was no exception. Ant Craven and Tom Groble have been writing together since 2005 with a few years’ worth of Edinburgh experience so Groble was able to shout down the hecklers with such skill that the whole group eventually left. The opening gambit of swastika armband on Adolf juggling however deserved to be heckled for its sheer pointlessness.
Once Craven and Groble got into their sketch routines it was clear that this pair have boundless talent for the absurd: bringing Monopoly up to life size got a few chuckles; Mary and Joseph having a marital was a realistic view of that period in the New Testament but the ending was so abrupt as to feel unfinished; and the Henry VIII signing up for a wife-finding website run by Cardinal Wolsey was a Tudor chortle (‘Anne of Cleavage’).
Unfortunately, it all went downhill from there. Groble spent too long dealing with the hecklers and let the audience go off the boil. There followed an uninspired routine involving poetry, domestic abuse and frying pans but ended on a high note with an observation on sperm that delighted my biologist chum. Craven fared less well and despite attempting self-deprecation and failing, he then continued with a flat song that verged on the misogynistic. Saving the best til last, his song about a bromance made half the audience laugh, but that half were with the unfortunate stooge hauled up onstage.
Craven and Groble make a great writing team and perhaps their Underbelly show Bad Bread fares better, being earlier in the day. Anyway, if I ever need a Victorian child to get up my chimney, as you so kindly offered Mr. Craven, I’ll let you know.