Edinburgh Fringe 2009
‘Invention’ is aptly named. Brimming with originality and endlessly clever, these sketches are riotously funny from start to finish. Based around a framework of an invention competition, and seamlessly integrating overhead-projected and prop-based comedy elements, this show is a sure-fire hour of laughter.
Mould and Arrowsmith are charismatic performers, and each vignette is framed by a metanarrative of competition between the two of them: which can come up with the best invention. Apart from this narrative are several sketches about popular TV programs such as one particularly brilliant one about Deal or No Deal, but these are just as accessible to those unfamiliar with the format. The show is unashamedly intelligent: sketches about mathematics and grammar abound, but don’t panic – they’re incredibly well-judged and expertly performed so as not to be either patronising or incomprehensible.
The staging features a particularly intelligent use of projection, and is generally slick and glitch-free, impressive stuff for such a technically complex arrangement. The performance is the same, energetic and genuinely funny, and the show fits very well together as a whole.
I found the show hilarious, and the rest of the audience evidently shared these views, laughing uproariously in all the right places, lapping up sketches about probability theory and throwaway lines about Schroedinger’s cat just as much as they enjoyed the simpler physical comedy.
Ultimately, Mould and Arrowsmith have discovered a whole new type of sketch comedy. By taking their show in an unashamedly geeky direction without sacrificing any of the funny, they achieve one of the best sketch shows around.