The Cleek

The Cleek, an all-female sketch troupe, formed after its members met at Chicago's Second City Training Center. Smiley, energetic and friendly, the quartet are clearly having a good time on stage. It’s not quite clear why they are called The Cleek (which Google tells me is the wooden end of a golf club) but maybe this reviewer is too old to appreciate an alternative spelling of Clique.

This performance is fun and friendly. However, on this particular day, The Cleek lacked punch.

Their show sits firmly within the genre of sketch-improv troupes, sharing a mix of pre-prepared sketches and improv with us. On this particular day sketches included the ‘Oscar winning speech’ game, the alphabet game, the dialogue-from-a-book game and more. The troupe try to keep things fresh by having an audience member pull numbers out of a hat to mix up the order of the day, as well as by incorporating suggestions from the audience.

The challenge with improv is that if you’ve seen other groups stage the same games before, you’re likely to judge the performance on how well they compare. Sadly, this group, while cheerful and enthusiastic, just don’t stand out. Accents wavered, spontaneous plots swerved clumsily and a lot of the pre-prepared sketches had unsatisfying conclusions. One sketch where a girlfriend teaches her boyfriend to argue ended in a way that just didn’t make sense. It’s possible that I missed the meaning, but if I did, others probably did as well. The recurrent grandpa sketch should have been a nice refrain but it just wasn’t that amusing. Having said that, a feminist yoga retreat sketch elicited a giggle or two.

I admire anyone who throws their hat in the ring to do sketch improv; it is surely one of the hardest comedic disciplines, and takes years of practice. But there are plenty of young sketch troupes here at the Edinburgh Festival and it’s a highly competitive genre. Troupes really need to figure out what will make them stand out at the most competitive festival on earth. This performance is fun and friendly. However, on this particular day, The Cleek lacked punch. 

Reviews by Alanta Colley

Laughing Horse @ Dropkick Murphys

All Star Stand-Up Showcase

★★
Underbelly, Bristo Square

Susan Calman: Lady Like

★★★
Laughing Horse @ The Free Sisters

Ant Dewson and Mark Silcox: Life in the Bus Lane - Free

Laughing Horse @ Espionage

Nik Coppin - Mixed Racist

★★★
Assembly Hall

Elephant Room

★★★★★
St John's

FunBags a Go-Go!

★★★

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

Location

The Blurb

Sketch! Improv! In-jokes! You're either in or you're out. Or you're part of The Cleek. The most exciting collaboration to come out of Chicago's Second City Training Center since... well, the last one... Featuring award-winning performers from the UK, US and Australia. The Cleek. Say cheek.

Most Popular See More

The Play That Goes Wrong

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Dear Evan Hansen

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Book of Mormon

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Life of Pi

From £19.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Cinderella The Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Lion King

From £36.00

More Info

Find Tickets