Brighton Fringe 2011
In this hour-long sketch show, affable young comedians Ben Clark, Matthew Crosby and Tom Parry perform sketches and songs that begin somewhere in the region of observational comedy and progress into the realms of the completely absurd, with uproarious results.
Rarely will you see so consistently sidesplitting a comedy group as Pappy’s. More usual is one or two good sketches sandwiched in lacklustre ones, but Matthew, Tom and Ben hit their mark far more often than most – and there is something for the comedy taste of most, as long as most people like their comedy somewhere between pretty silly and utterly absurd.
First up, we have some charming opening banter of the kind that appears unrehearsed, but is so well-rehearsed as to appear completely off-the-cuff. This is a consistent thread in the show, veering it away from theatricality – where many default to scene change music, black-outs, voice-overs or projections, the three cover any costume changes with casual yet controlled chat which gives the show a breezy, convivial air, as though there are three guys playing sketches in your living room.
After few punchy warm-up sketches, they’re off in an avalanche of puns, physical humour, homemade costumes, song and perspiration.
For me the best sketch of the lot was the use of body parts as musical notes – apparently random, but eventually cohering in hysterical counterpoint of “Louie Louie”. But then there was the rousing chorus of “The Quartermaster’s Store”, the recurring character of Dean, a put-upon dinosaur, and Justin Bieber’s “Baby” cropping up at awkward and inappropriate moments (although of course, in the case of “Baby”, that could reasonably said of any moment), and a truly brilliant song about gloves. They also have some very tight physical comedy which I would have liked to see a bit more of, but between the guitar, the colourful outfits and the gags it wasn’t really missed. There was a slight sense of anti-climax about the final number, a song that’s (kind of) about being unimpressive to women, but this was mitigated by the number of real belly-laughs we got beforehand.
I hasten to add that it’s not entirely song-based, however the musical elements of the show were certainly the highest points, with each performer also a capable musician.
Pappy’s maintain a gleeful and boyish approach to performance that makes them a truly joyous bunch, and their modus operandi is an inoffensive, positive style of comedy which suits them well and keeps the audience on side the entire show. They are currently touring so their show is one to keep firmly on the radar.