If I were an anthropologist or a linguist I could write a thesis on non-verbal communication through shared laughter. I have come to recognise the difference types of laughter as a response to live comedy. The tittering, nervous giggle, the knowledgeable chuckle, the shrieks and cackles, the guffawing and the sniggering. This comedy sketch show was full of all-out relaxed belly laughs, the best sort of laughter - cathartic and genuine.
The Fringe Guide rates it a PG rating, so I left BBR8 and BBR11 (my two boys/mini reviewers) at home in case of bad language. This is a shame since The Three Half Pints, shoehorned into the downstairs bar, is a show for which you can be any age from eight to 80. A few bits of naughty but nice double entendres was as risque as it got.
The Three Half Pints are Richard Franks, Callum Donnelly and Robin Hatcher who play the roles of Dick, Derek and Ernie respectively with a special and almost silent guest appearance from Emily Moffat. It is clear they have studied their chosen form as there was verbal dexterity, in-joking, punning and banter worthy of Derek and Clive, It’s That Man Again, the Goon Show and Worker’s Playtime, with the physicality and tomfoolery reminiscent of Monty Python, Carry On, Norman Wisdom, Harold Lloyd and the Marx Brothers.
In a series of short sketches they never miss a beat and if something goes wrong it is made part of the show with a little collusive wink to the audience - a sort of ‘who cares, let’s just laugh at ourselves.’ Laugh the audience did, almost constantly throughout the whole show.
For a generation of young people whose only slapstick came in the form of the Chuckle Brothers, the Three Half Pints is a very welcome return to the tradition of trouser-dropping, tin-tray-to-the-head-bashing, pratfall, clowning physical comedy. I don’t quite understand why there are not queues out the door for this show; it’s very silly and it’s free.