The Pin: Ten Seconds with The Pin

It’s almost impossible to see a sketch show that doesn’t have its misses; hit and miss is so much of an audience expectation it has almost become the received format. However The Pin, a double act comprised of Cambridge graduates Ben Ashenden and Alexander Owen, have managed to avoid this. Because Ten Seconds with The Pin is a sketch show with a twist, containing a mixture of sketches and performance comedy, with Ashenden and Owen explaining, constructing, deconstructing and analysing their sketches as the shows go on.

Not only are The Pin intuitive and hilarious, they are taking sketch comedy tropes and turning them on their head.

Whether this format has come about due to a lack of material or sheer innovation is unclear, however its effect is majestic. Because the format doesn’t rely on constant slew of sketches, the ones that are included are short and snappy, demonstrating the pair’s quick wit, chemistry and physicality on stage. Filling a whole hour with sketches often leads to a few duds, however it’s clear that The Pin have honed their craft over the years and have selected only the finest of their work for our viewing.

And while the end product may contain fewer sketches than an average show, you can’t fault The Pin’s variety. Whether it’s puns, visual gags or good old fashioned repetition, Ten Seconds with The Pin really has it all.

It’s also a show that uses every tool in its arsenal, from sounds effects to visual gags. This isn’t a show that’s been created in some technology-free basement; its performers have thought about effects available to them and have exploited their comedic potential.

If there’s an obvious flaw with the show it has to be its finale. There’s a running gag throughout the show about how the pair are going to end their show and given the finesse of the show thus far you expect nothing more than the pair having their audience in fits laughter. Unfortunately they don’t quite pull it off; admittedly their finale is clever and inventive, but it’s hardly the ending that most of the audience were expecting.

Nonetheless, the disappointment at the show’s ending is merely a product of heightened expectations. Because not only are they intuitive and hilarious, they are taking sketch comedy tropes and turning them on their head. Expect The Pin to stick around for a very long time.

Reviews by Will Roberts

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The Blurb

The Pin are Ben Ashenden and Alex Owen. On the back of recording their own Radio 4 series, selling out a run at the Soho Theatre, and appearing on Comedy Central, BBC3 and Dave, they return to the Fringe with a brand new show. ‘Reinventing sketch comedy before our very eyes.’ ***** (List). ‘Eviscerating their chosen form completely' **** (Sunday Times). ‘A very classy, very funny show indeed’ **** (Telegraph). ‘A genuine boundary pusher’ **** ( ‘Great flair - adept at finding laughs in surprising places’ **** (Times).