Next Best Thing

Katie Davison and Jay Bennett, weary and elated respectively, open their show with an awkward blend of high-fives and handshakes and an argument over why they’re called The Next Best Thing. Their conclusion; ‘It’s comedy, it just hasn’t been written, performed or produced by a man’.

Often the whole show feels rather slow, due in part to the pauses with which their sketches are peppered.

They play very annoying women very well. Whether at the water-cooler or paying the bill, failing to treat patients or belittling their tap partners, Bennett and Davison’s characters are cringingly obnoxious, frighteningly unhinged and consistently well-observed. All of them are figures one has seen before, plucked from the real world, blown up into caricatures and left to torment each other. These are interspersed with little arguments between the performers and moments of abortive audience interaction. Following their initial dispute, the duo maintain a sense of low-level antagonism throughout, taking swipes at each other’s appearance and intellect. This never convinces, however, as it is all too clear that Bennett and Davison work excellently together, matching their delivery and timing beautifully. Given the strength of their characters, at times one feels that they could do without these intervening sections, which tend to slow things down.

Often the whole show feels rather slow, due in part to the pauses with which their sketches are peppered. While they time these well, some are so long that the pace inevitably suffers.Some of the sketches also last too long, over-extending the joke, and some of the transitions are unnecessarily drawn out: the ‘waiting song’ they use to cover their costume changes is a nice touch, but the song is not so good nor the changes so necessary as to justify the time taken.

All these are relatively minor complaints. For the most part, The Next Best Thing are a talented double-act, performing a very entertaining hour of comedy. They have some excellent sketches which go down really well. It is only that these feel a little spaced out over the course of the hour. They need a few more hits to maintain the energy for a full show.

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Performances

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The Blurb

Fast-paced funnies from the hosts of London-based alternative comedy night, Comedy BarSkit, (*****, FemaleArts.com). Jay sees her name in lights and Katie's fed up with the electricity bill. Jay has piles of signed selfies, Katie will sort hers in a bit. Reviews? Jay's got loads. But she'll only read them to you aloud. Katie's starting to doubt their authenticity... Jay believes they're set for stardom, Katie understands irony. Together they do sketches. Together they are the Next Best Thing.

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