Minor Delays

Those little things that hold you back, awkward pauses and abashed hesitations of everyday life: the focus of Minor Delays. Belly-laughing isn’t optional. Seeing this again, one year on, is like driving an F12 Berlinetta whose tapered parts, more aerodynamic than the last Ferrari, make for an even faster beast, and a mesmerisingly turbulent thrill ride.

New scenes – particularly ‘therapy llama’ – are worth the entry price alone.

Three characters take the rough roles, from left to right, of gentle (Harry Michell), firm (Abi Tedder) and insistent (Joe Barnes). 38 sketches – some continuations – are fired at us, mostly triggering instant elation, thanks to sharp punchlines, and others provoking a more uncertain rustling (the Rotherhithe, sex predator and parent puppet skits come to mind). Throughout, a playful approach to gender conjures up surprising revelations.

Tedder’s majestic ability to contort her face and to move between booming and childishly temperate, squeezing out every bit of delight from the audience, is exceptional. It’s a testament to these actors’ range that there are sudden modulations from sad solo birthday celebrations to a spoilt brat’s self-aware rendition of an “est in horto” aria (that seems to be influenced by – ah such fun – the Cambridge Latin Course).

The delivery is so convincing - often heated - that one wonders if this could turn to tragedy. Occasionally the noise from the trio is overwhelming. Michell, towards the end, couldn’t help but laugh (proof that this show never gets old?) and beamed a satisfying look of dissatisfaction when a spectator exited a notch early.

I loved the live string interludes of last year’s run, and it was a shame to hear this couldn’t be brought back for logistical reasons. But new scenes – particularly ‘therapy llama’ – are worth the entry price alone. In Minor Delays, the actors never look at each other; only at us. This is focused, finely-tuned comedy that isn’t afraid to be dark or unsettling (9/11, AIDS references), and feeds off regular anxieties as if they’re made of gold dust.

Broadway Baby Radio interview with Abi Tedder, Harry Michell and Joe Barnes of Minor Delays

Reviews by Oliver Newson

Greenside @ Royal Terrace

Perceptual Landscape

★★★★
Assembly George Square Studios

Jamie MacDonald: Oblivious

★★★★
Assembly George Square Theatre

Siro-A

★★★
Scottish National Portrait Gallery

Lee Miller and Picasso

★★★★
C venues - C

Pippin

★★
Pleasance Courtyard

The Falcon's Malteser by Anthony Horowitz

★★★★

Performances

Location

The Blurb

One of last year's best-reviewed shows at the Fringe (Comedy.co.uk) returns with another hour of slick sketch comedy. Fresh from this year's London Sketchfest, book ahead to avoid disappointment. 'This show couldn't get much better' ***** (BroadwayBaby.com). 'Quite unlike any other sketch show you will see’ **** (Scotsman). 'Remarkable!' ***** (TheNewCurrent.co.uk). 'Hypersonic comedic perfection!' **** (Skinny). 'We want more!' ***** (EdfringeReview.com).