Sketchatron: Nano

Review by Richard Hanrahan | 26 Aug 2009

Each year's Fringe sees the same question recur: is sketch comedy dead? If this collection of five of the Fringe's leading sketch acts is any guide, the genre is far from finished.

Fringe veterans Idiots of Ants open proceedings. Every sketch is silly yet well observed, usually guaranting big laughs, from the fantastic writing, and well managed improvised moments. Next up is the duo Tommy and the Weeks, who come across with a certain city cool, but break free to deliver some delightfully bizarre off-the-cuff humour.

The third act are relative fringe newcomers Thankless Child, who seem overshadowed by the other majestic acts; though funny in places, they lack the big laughs enjoyed by others on the bill. In time these will come, but for now, their lack of experience was evident. Cardinal Burns follow with a single sketch, a seemingly simple pastiche of a celebrity interview. On paper, the sketch wouldn't amount to very much, but few could have executed the idea so perfectly: their delivery is impeccable, with each subtle movement causing riotous laughter.

Finally the mighty Pappy's Fun Club arrive on stage and duly justify their status as headline act. Best described as wonderfully shambolic, the foursome dominate proceedings, with brilliantly anarchic sketches that cannot be explained, but demand to be seen. For a medium supposedly heading for meltdown, sketch comedy seems to be doing very well.