After the success of their debut Edinburgh show last year, Sad Faces return with more jokes, japes and some crisp-based canapés. As with their 2012 show, Sad Faces Remember it Differently, the strength of their new piece comes from the narrative structure and base, the premise this time round being that its Tobi's birthday and he is determined to have the best party ever.
It may seem like a simple device, but having a storyline to string the sketches together gives Sad Faces Threw a Party an overriding arc that ties the whole piece into a fully fleshed out, coherent and extremely funny show. Instead of being presented with an onslaught of unrelated characters and jokes, Sad Faces build light-hearted tension and intrigue throughout the show. There are good guys and bad guys and peaks that underpin every sketch. One can't help but warm to and care about the hapless, hopeless trio as they try and convince the audience they are at the best party ever, regardless of what is happening downstairs. This, coupled with the real world setting (albeit a slightly twisted real world setting), creates a solid foundation that elevates it above lesser troupes who simply throw a number of unrelated skits around for an hour.
Although a few jokes are some way off the mark and the occasional misjudged punchline cries out for a bit more consideration during the writing process, the group have brought back their successful mixture of characters, wordplay, visual gags and intelligent, well placed callbacks to create a hilarious and enjoyable Fringe addition. Happy face.