Edinburgh Fringe Series: 'Not Quite Write'

Edinburgh Fringe Series: 'Not Quite Write'

'Not Quite Right' indeed. What promised to be a bizarre sketch show, a show within a show as the actors pretend to be comics trying to critique sketches from the general public (I know) I can only describe as negatively eccentric.

With one pun amongst awkward sexual reference followed by another pun, it was definitely unique. The characters consistently berated the poor quality of the sketches that had been submitted (that being the main frame for all their performances), but that is not an excuse for the non-enthusiastic acts. Whoever thought that a sketch where Italian American gangsters hold a restaurant owner at gunpoint just to get his spaghetti Bolognese recipe was funny? And worse, who thought this would be the best piece with which to open?

With characters such as the superhero ‘Butterfeet’ (let's not go into those puns there) gracing the stage, the majority of the jokes feel as though they would be exclusively funny to the friends of the performers – rather than a crowd from the public.

Admittedly, after the first half of the sketches, they really get into their stride. Their sketch regarding Sigmund Freud is the highlight of the show in my opinion, as they play on the relationship he would have had with his mother with fluidity, where wordplay is not simply the scraps of humour that hold up the sketch, but instead unexpected additional wit and verve.

Yet, there is always a line with comedy between being tongue in cheek and being flat-out offensive, and where poor taste ensues. They may err towards the latter in a couple of sketches, but those are, in fact, altogether the more successful pieces. There are just too many sketches which don't quite take off, including a sketch where they break the fourth wall and ask us how much we paid for the performance. ‘Was it truly worth it?’ One of the actors asks. (I was not sure how to answer that one). Perhaps if this sketch had concluded the show, instead of occurring in the middle, then it would have tickled me more. Instead it feels out of place; as though the actors are trying to backtrack out of responsibility for their performance. Just because you know it may be bad, that does not mean that you can excuse it easily by acknowledging that. Self-deprecation has its limits. It is as if they are trying to give themselves a get-out clause for not being funny.

It is an undeniably original piece, topical and self-aware – think Oscar Pistorius, think Malaysian airlines – but it is up to you whether you would like to see a piece where even the actors are not sure if they are being funny.

**

Kate Nicholson

Original Post: http://edfringereview.com/r/V4pEGkRgQ0mJugUmXDx6yg