Sheeps: A Sketch Show

Any sketch show that opens with the entire plot of Oliver Twist, in song, in three minutes is going to be good. I know this because I've seen Sheeps, an all singing, all dancing, three-person sketch troop of Cambridge Footlights graduates. The really refreshing thing about this group, in contrast to many sketch groups of the same age, is that their comedy relies on clever structures, pastiche and peculiarity of topic, rather than on bluntness or misguided attempts at being edgy. In fact, the content feels very televisual, both in its structures and sensibilities. There is an excellent game show parody and several – too many – advert pastiches, as well as a fantastic 'best moments' section that makes for a satisfying finale. Their key influences seem also to be off the telly, and resolutely Oxbridge. The Pythons and Mitchell and Webb spring to mind at various times during the set.It is a good path to follow, and they've studied their predecessors well. At times perhaps too well. The advert sketches, for example, are really a one-trick pony, and there surely can’t be much more material for anyone impersonating football managers. If anything, Sheeps wear their influences a little too heavily to ever feel really themselves. Yet there is plenty of artistic ambition lying behind the groups' mainstream demeanour – Sheeps are never afraid to stretch out a sketch to take its premise beyond and above its logical conclusion; whilst having the pace and energy in their transitions never to feel long-winded. Their biggest successes in fact emerge when they are at their most original and unusual. Together with their obvious talent as physical actors and the slickness of their choreography, Sheeps are undeniably a good sketch group – but there is something even better, and maybe a little bit weirder, just starting to emerge.

Reviews by Tom Moyser

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The Blurb

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is the greatest arts festival in the world. Plenty for all to see! So why Sheeps? ‘Excellently silly ... great deal of promise’ (Scotsman). ‘Smart gags ... winning delivery ... very intriguing prospect’ (