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series of cringeworthy exercises, from making an invisible smoothie to playing with Simms’ oversized balls (see what I mean?). Simms is a cheery, likeable character, whose inane gags neither offend nor stimulate. That said, if you don’t want to be roped into onstage sphincter clenches it is certainly not advisable to sit at the front. A show that will divide those happy to jig along, and those who would rather tell Simms to jog on. (Rebecca Ross) ■ B’est Restaurant, 556 4448, until 31 Aug (not 15, 22, 29), 10.30am, £20.
DOG-EARED COLLECTIVE An apocalyptic oddity about The End ●●●●● Ni-Nightline helpline workers Paul, Jean, Karen and Kimberley apply their C (confidentiality) U (understanding) P (positivity) philosophy to the possibility of the apocalypse occurring in the
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ensuing hour. And so the four whisk their way through end-of-the-world scenarios warning that the animals might take over, while the recession is dispelled via the medium of role-play and there’s a vision of the future as seen by an 11-year-old schoolgirl. The latest show by the foursome is a
hotchpotch of barmy ideas, which wouldn’t be a problem but for the fact that the writing doesn’t carry it. It’s a shame as such is the charm of the performers that you want to like their efforts and there are occasional moments where they get the absurd touches just right. But sadly these are few and far between with too much reliance on gurning and shouting where they could have put their energies into writing a tighter script.
Sadly the legacy of the likes of The Boosh have made it look all too easy when oddball comedy is actually as carefully crafted as anything else. (Marissa Burgess) ■ Underbelly, 08445 458 252, until 30 Aug (not 19), 2.30pm, £6.50–£10 (£8–£9).
NEW ART CLUB Balletic musings on the meaning of ‘now’ ●●●●●
Tom Roden was 13 when the compilation Now That’s What I Call Music was released back in 1983. He and his girlfriend broke the law by taping it onto cassette from the vinyl. That year, Tom was a goth. He was also a New Romantic, a breakdancer, a mod, and a rocker too, and this show is his nostalgic look back at the era – and that momentous album – accompanied by his dance partner in crime, Pete Shenton. Watching grown men skipping to ‘Double Dutch’, wearing shoulder-padded jumpsuits and doing interpretative ballet to Bonnie Tyler’s ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’ is probably not everyone’s bag, but if you hold any kind of attachment to the 80s, and the soft-rock, power balladeering and air grabbing of that time, it’s a tongue-in-cheek treat. Ponderings on the real meaning of ‘now’ and its Buddhist associations seem a bit superfluous in a show that works best when it’s just two men losing their inhibitions and doing bad dancing. Cod-philosophy aside, it’s a slick, warmly delivered and occasionally bloody funny slice of modern dance-meets-comedy fun. (Claire Sawers) ■ Assembly Rooms, 623 3030, until 31 Aug (not 18), 6pm, £11–£12 (£10–£11).
THE MOST IMPORTANT SHOW OF THE DAY An interactive wake-up call ●●●●●
PAPPY’S FUN CLUB Sketch favourites achieve cohesion through chaos ●●●●●
Riding the waves of recently popularised characters such as Brüno and Borat, Richard Simms is a pint- sized fitness fanatic in an 80s-inspired get-up of fluorescent shorts and leg- warmers. ‘Are you getting enough SECS (Spoken Encouragement Compliments and Support)?’ begins Simms, setting the tone for the silly antics and stream of innuendoes which ensue.
A two-course breakfast is served at intervals, setting the atmosphere somewhere between that of a PE lesson and a cruise ship. The show relies upon audience participation in a
Sketch comedy at the Fringe is often accused of a lack of fluidity, in the absence of an over-arching narrative thread to keep its audience engaged. Former if.comedy award nominees Pappy’s Fun Club may have been guilty of this in the past, but somehow by admitting their act will be mayhem this year – attempting a world record feat of 200 sketches in 60 minutes is predictably impossible – they attain a fluidity that bestows an unexpected maturity on their off-the-wall ramblings. With the prospect of losing the support of their rich benefactor Pappy if they don’t succeed in their goal, the four performers radiate limitless energy throughout the capacious Pleasance One and switch between characters with the confidence of far more established comics. The show is crammed full of witty punchlines and inevitable puns, none of which outstay their
36 THE LIST FESTIVAL MAGAZINE 13–20 Aug 2009
welcome, though some are particularly cringeworthy: look out for a series on ‘knife crime’ and ‘pin theft’. Each concoction is more surreal than the next, with a few classic 1950s tunes playing a crucial role in their success and a game-show like Totaliser making regular appearances to track their progress.
Though the audience might wonder how the world record attempt - which, it’s soon clear, is unachievable – will be resolved, it ultimately comes together with a neatness that’s a testament to how skilfully the show is written and performed. A sense of raffish spontaneity might pervade its action, but this is slickly constructed, blissfully funny comedy that will please much more than the group’s devoted fanbase. Pappy’s Fun Club, it seems, have breezed their way into the Fringe hall of fame, injecting long-lapsed exuberance into their chosen form without radically altering the genre. (Yasmin Sulaiman) ■ Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 31 Aug (not 17), 7.20pm, £12–£14 (£10.50–£12.50).