Brighton Fringe 2011
The bizarrely named Delete the Banjax (if anyone could let me know where the name comes from, I’m genuinely curious) are an entertaining and genuinely friendly presence on the stage. The four performers have excellent chemistry and endear themselves to you remarkably quickly – both as a group and as individuals.
These four are the kind of performers you’d love to get to know as people. You get the impression with Banjax that you aren’t seeing a stage persona – you’re seeing a barely exaggerated, genuinely funny group of friends who clearly love to perform for each other as much as an audience. This hugely works in their favour: it helps create an atmosphere where the audience feel comfortable and at ease with each of them individually (as their opening "Positivity Song" encourages them to do).
Each member of the group brings a fresh dynamic to proceedings – Gareth Cooper’s attempts to assert his leadership over the group was frequently amusing, while Daniel Cook’s anarchic, childlike playfulness – and his attempts to seduce a member of the audience – were perhaps the best part of the show (particularly during the "Pub Quiz" extended sketch, which was a highlight of the hour).
Bizarrely for a sketch group, Banjax worked best outside the context of their sketch material. Their actual sketches, by contrast, were generally unmemorable and nondescript. There were some good gags thrown in – the bucket list sketch was perhaps a second favourite – but the sketches that felt the most "written" actually felt like the weakest part of the show.
In a recent interview ahead of their Brighton Fringe shows, Banjax member Sam Champion said "“Someone once said our show felt like a big party – that’s awesome. If we can make people come away thinking they’ve just been to a funny party, then that’s what we’re looking for.” And indeed, that’s what Banjax does best and what they most resemble: a group of four witty, entertaining young people who know how to engage and amuse a willing audience. Unfortunately, what stops them from earning more than three stars here is that while they might have the delivery and style down pat, their writing doesn’t feel sharp enough to back it up.