This show brings you four-man comedy group 400Hats acting in a variety of short sketches. These are interspersed with scenes of secret agent team Thespianage and their search to arrest the group for crimes against comedy. While to agree seriously with this tongue-in-cheek joke may seem a little harsh, as you walk away from the performance you can’t help but feel that it didn’t really do comedy any favours.
The script of the different skits varies significantly in its quality of humour: a pub filled with beer-drinking bible characters, or psychological experiments researching the different causes of laughter, or the chat amongst an army composed of clowns all got the audience laughing with ‘punny’ moments. However, tired sketches of boyfriend-returning-home-to-cheating-girlfriend got a lukewarm reception. Although at first mildly amusing, the recurring appearance of the secret-agent group (all sporting pretty ropey American accents) became laboured to the point of becoming the weakest part of the show. The standard of acting fluctuated noticeably- at times the actors’ enjoyment was contagious, whilst in other more wooden moments their discomfort was equally catching. Costumes and props seemed to put the actors at ease, however a more consistent employment in each skit would have been helpful as they were used a little erratically.
As this was the show’s first performance of its run, it would be very unfair to dismiss it entirely. The script contained some witty nuggets of humour, so if the actors relaxed a little it could really improve- although I won’t be watching it again to find out.