Present and Correct: Now Recruiting - Free

This young and energetic company have tried to create a sketch show with a storyline. When done well (and I have seen quite a few done so this Fringe) these narratives add a depth to the piece that makes the entire performance run more smoothly, enhancing each sketch. In this case however they haven’t quite got the line right: for all intents and purposes, they have written a comedic play without any character development. This unfortunate flaw rather tarnishes the piece and lies at the root of all of the problems for a group that definitely have potential.

The point of a sketch show is to dip in and out, keeping each situation fresh and inventive, building to a joke at the end; this became just a series of scenes with the occasional left-field introduction of characters for one appearance.

Present and Correct centre the storyline on a company called Penderson Brothers Office Supplies who are the classic capitalist evil company taking over the world. Taking on an Orwellian sensibility we are introduced to Natalie, a graduate taking on her first job and Whiskers the Cat who leads a “sharing” revolution. It starts well with some good jokes and sketches as we follow these two characters on their own journey inside and against Penderson brothers. However, this narrative becomes the show’s downfall - it becomes too focused on a storyline which does not give a lot of scope for inventive sketches. The point of a sketch show is to dip in and out, keeping each situation fresh and inventive, building to a joke at the end; this became just a series of scenes with the occasional left-field introduction of characters for one appearance.

It is well written and there are some good jokes in there: it just needs to be looked at again. I particularly enjoyed the overly pompous lift attendants who tried to give each person that entered the “full experience” and Whiskers the Cat was brilliant.

All in all, it was not a bad show but it’s never going to be phenomenal because of the mistake at its inception. I would love to see them interrogate this more and make a decision between either a sketch comedy or a piece of farcical theatre because at the moment it is falling in a crack in the middle. But I trust this company to see their mistake and go back and revisit the piece.

Reviews by Christopher Spring

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The Blurb

Present and Correct want to recruit you! Nurture you! Synergise you! Consume you! Welcome to Penderson Brothers' Office Supplies, a company that has redefined evil. Explore the twisted world of Head Office, complete with parasitic infestation, ritual sacrifice and puppets. Only whatever you do, avoid the lifts! P&C return to the Fringe this financial year with a brand new satirically silly sketch show that will fill your laughter spreadsheets and maximise your mirth margins. ‘Cutting edge’ (York Vision). ‘A great success’ ( ‘Clever and funny ... brilliant moments of silliness’ (ThreeWeeks).

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