Edinburgh Fringe 2016
An hour of high class sketch comedy from a quartet at the top of their game. Oh, and some illusions and really good impersonations too!
Down to the bowels of the Cowgate to Just the Tonic’s Caves for a spot of Mixed Doubles, an hour of whacky sketch comedy from a quartet comprising Will Close, Megan Smith, Paul Aitchison and the wonderfully gauche Rose Robinson.
It’s Little Comberton’s annual attempt to raise money to replace their ageing bowls club with something that doesn’t leak and smell of cow pats. We could be anywhere in middle Britain as the middle classes that so love the traditions of Middle Whateveritscalled do their bit to keep things just the way they’ve always been.
There’s nothing quite so funny as good observational comedy and we get that in spades as this very talented troupe assume the core roles of local GP with unrequited am-dram ambitions, gawky librarian, upper class village idiot and a massage and wellness shop owner. Banter between these characters provided segue ways into a series of excellently structured sketches, each with believable persona and some very clever, funny punchlines. A couple of running gags provided continuity (including one involving a top class impersonation of Jools Holland) and there was an “Open Forum” lectern to allow “villagers” to put across points of view – in this case the source of a number of amusing character vignettes.
A number of sketches focused on relationships and were right on the money, including one about an obsessive-compulsive magician and his girlfriend (allowing Paul Aitchison to demonstrate a string of clever stage illusions), one based on that well-known phrase “the elephant in the room”, complete with bloke in said elephant costume and one where the “girlfriend” thought she was a witch. If one or two others missed the target, it wasn’t by much and didn’t dim the laughter volume level for long.
Never afraid to use silence, their expressive faces, silly costumes, dead pan delivery and acute sense of the absurd, surreal and down-right daft mark this out as a team that’s going places. Rose Robinson can twist her voice into almost any accent or genre – around the core of gauche librarian we had witches, piggies and a host of other animal impressions. And the cast evidently enjoy being on stage together, never happier, it seemed, when something went slightly off piste and required a correcting ad lib or two.
Concluding with some imaginative audience participation sketches that hit the nail right on the head, this was an hour of high class sketch comedy from a young quartet at the top of their game. Highly recommended for anyone with a sense of humour and a “must see” for fans of the genre.