Edinburgh Fringe Reviews: A Sketch Hat-Trick
Three strong sketch shows at Pleasance Courtyard.
Daphne were one of the sketch highlights of last year’s festival, bagging a Best Newcomer nomination in the process. This year’s follow up, Daphne’s Second Show [★★★★] builds on those foundations, and is an even stronger hour than their much-praised debut.
A stirring 60-minute set sees the group subvert racial stereotypes, show off their three-part harmonies, and take over tech duties. Each member has a starring role in a highly intelligent show that’s clever without flaunting it. Phil Wang is the closest thing to the straight man, deadpan yet dynamic; Jason Forbes has an archive of facial expressions and talent for physical comedy, while George Fouracres brings the sublime moments of mayhem. Two routines in particular, one about a wasp and one about Frasier’s Daphne Moon, bring unrelenting laughter.
Yet Daphne are greater than the sum of their parts, a perfectly balanced trio – and it’s in that dynamic where the strength of Daphne’s Second Show lies. Here’s hoping their upward curve continues.
Giants [★★★★] are Will Hislop and Barney Fishwick, or Hissyman and Notorious Fish depending on who’s asking. They’re debutants this year, and it’s a show that’s both bold and slick, much like Daphne’s was last year.
They make a powerful impression, opening the show in a pretend foreign language – think The Fast Show’s Channel 9 with added meaningless catchphrases. From there it’s more hit than miss; a running joke about Fishwick’s inability to smalltalk is a highlight, as is a parody of angry white male vloggers, where the Giants’ voices overlap in mock-fury and no punchline is needed.
They dance wonderfully too. You sense they’ve been practising, waiting for this moment. They’ve grabbed it, and this might be the beginning of something special.
This Glorious Monster
There’s a lot to like too about This Glorious Monster’s Wrong 'Uns [★★★]. Comparisons to The League of Gentlemen make sense; their black comedy is mostly well judged, with routines about driving instructors, pushy Human Resources staff, and a real stunner about a father in a coma, which we mustn't spoil for you.
Martin Collins – who welcomes everyone individually to the show with what he calls a “clammy handshake” – Daniel Hoffmann-Gill and Adam Loxley involve the audience in their act, playing charades and conducting a seance. Wrong 'Uns is loads of fun. The downside is that there are a touch too many jokes that veer into toilet humour territory. The show they’ve got is strong enough to stand up without it.
Daphne's Second Show, Pleasance Courtyard (Beneath), 3-28 Aug (not 15), 5.45pm, £6-12
Giants, Pleasance Courtyard (Attic), 3-28 Aug (not 15), 3.15pm, £6-9.50
This Glorious Monster: Wrong 'Uns, Pleasance Courtyard (That), 3-29 Aug ,4.30pm, £7-11