Edinburgh Fringe 2010
Sketch Comedy group Clever Peter return to the Fringe with a new, themed show exploring Blood, Sweat and tears.
I reviewed an earlier version of this show in Brighton during the Brighton Festival Fringe in May 2010 and gave it five stars. Clever Peter are not newcomers to the Fringe and their signature work is based on intelligent, sometimes shocking, always well put together and performed skectch comedy. This year we have the theme of "Blood, Sweat and Tears."
Their comedy can pitch into grotesque and shocking, as they explore the themes that make us human in, not just our brightest moments, but also our darkest ones. Here, relationships, the search for happiness, diet, life, death are all covered. A particular highlight, which I won’t spoil for you is a running storyline based around the mysterious "Kenny". There’s also a talking fox. It’s inventive and this version of the show has the neat twist of danced scene changes (some of which seemed a bit underplayed or unrehearsed – either do it 100% or not at all).
The sketches come quick and fast in that show which really is of the highest quality. First of all the material itself is of a very high standard. The sketches always poke a stick at aspects of the human condition and I applaud Clever Peter for always being prepared to put the new twist on current questions and problems faced by people simply trying to get through life.
Here we have it all, literally. There’s blood, sweat, and yes, there were tears. But the tears were not tears of sadness in this audience, they were tears of laughter. Clever Peter are, as comedy performers, a cut above the rest, because they are also competent actors. When they do accents, the accents are of the highest quality. When they do physical comedy theatre, particularly caricature, it all works a treat. There was perhaps a bit too much corpsing on the night I saw the show, but even that infected many in the audience with uncontrollable giggles.
Often this very talented sketch group takes very simple scene, usually drawn from daily life, and finds a clever angle on it that is refreshing, and it is this in this that comedy succeeds. The laughter hit rate on sketches in family was very high (though one or two shorter pieces could do with weeding out. All three members of the group are equally talented, and have natural comic ability and timing. It is also always a good sign when members of the audience are applauding at very particular pieces of a sketch or at the end of a sketch recognising the genius of the punchline or at the cleverness of the chosen theme of the sketch and the way it has been observed. They often observe the world very sharply, sometimes cynically but we do not fall too much into feeling we are being manipulated into laughter for its own sake, there’s a point to the material. This really is a very clever group and the cleverness is very direct and honest and does not in any way feels scheming or manipulative. So, a big thumbs up to Clever Peter. This is a must see sketch show at the Plesance Dome.