Monday, 25 August 2008

Fringe Review - The Angry Puppy, Stand 3, 23/08/2008

I'm not usually a fan of sketch comedy. Mostly I find the situations too outlandish and the characterisations too far outside anything I have encountered in the real world for it to make any kind of impact on me. However, I was enticed along to this one by the presence of the wonderful Susan Calman, and very glad I am that I made the effort.

The show starts slowly, and there are a few duff sketches in the first twenty minutes or so, but from an infectiously brilliant skit set in an electrical store onwards, they all seem to hit the mark perfectly providing a last half hour filled with energy and plenty of laughs.

For the most part continuing characters and catchphrases are avoided, apart from one running gag about a bizarre girl obsessed with her dad, and instead the scenes are populated by people we could almost recognise from our daily lives.

The female foursome do tend to each play to their strengths. Marj Hogarth tends to stick to slightly officious, haughty characters, Kirsten McLean to the overenergetic organiser type, Leah MacRae is generally a down-to-earth street character, and Calman usually portrays the kooky one of the bunch, although they do mix this formula up from time to time.

They make up a good team, complementing each other well, and the sketches themselves are full of inventiveness, from an unusually intense encounter in an opticians to a scene in which the foursome each attempt to remove the top from a jar performed in the style of a Superstars-type television show.

I'm still not a fan of sketch shows, but this one made me laugh far more than it did otherwise, and if they return next year and can keep up this level of quality, then television could do far worse than come knocking at their doors.

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