Minor Delays @ Gilded Balloon

Review by Vonny Moyes | 06 Aug 2014

Despite the name, there's nothing sluggish about Minor Delays. Boasting a notable cast of ex-Footlights and Tealights presidents, the cast of three's credentials prove to be an accurate insight into the quality of the show ahead. Opting for an minimalist backdrop – aside from a cellist and violinist – the performers eschew any sort of artistic conceit, sitting side-by-side on three simple dining chairs. It's a bold move to hope that the strength of the material will carry the hour without the safety net of prop or production, but one that ultimately works in their favour.

The show begins ambiguously, with what transpires to be a speedy summary of the sketches to follow; a loose end that is neatly bowed at the close of the show. What follows is fifty minutes of expertly crafted skits that betray the cast's collective youth; a smart timeframe that prevents the concept fatiguing. Not only are the scenes insightful beyond the writers' years, each one shows an innate ease with the nuts and bolts of producing solid sketch comedy. The setups expertly entice and mislead, giving little clue as to the clever twists ahead. All three display comic versatility, and the writing deliberately profits from each's talents, particularly Abi Tedder's dexterous acting and Joe Barnes' keen characterisation. 

Over the course of the near hour, the trio cover the vast spectrum of the human experience, such as relationships, High Renaissance interior grumbles and the downsides of schooling youngsters – a highlight being the climactic callback featuring an insufferable wunderkind. Amongst the rapid delivery, there are only a couple of scenes that feel a little short of their natural comic conclusion, but for the most part there's genuine consistency and quality throughout. They only dare to dip into darker material on occasion, but when they brave it the payoff is considerable. 

This is relentlessly funny hour, delivering hypersonic comedic perfection. All three are clearly set for greatness – see them while it's cheap! 

Minor Delays @ Gilded Balloon, 1-25 Aug (not 11), 3pm, £10