The Big Briefcase

Note: This review is from 2002

Review by Steve Bennett

Frequently flawed, The Big Briefcase nevertheless has enough redeeming features to suggest that there is some promising comic talent hidden behind it all.

The show's main problem is that it can't really decide what it wants to be, uneasily mixing disparate styles and ideas in an eager attempt to impress.

Its premise is that this is the defence case in a murder, presented as a reconstruction of a gangland killing.

After an uncertain start, some strong characters emerge such as Richard Thompson's McTaggart-style detective and his lisping, idiotic wannabe gangster.

Sidekick Matt Green has an expressive comedy face and a wiry comedy body - though he has yet to learn that less is often more, so overacts and gesticulates wildly when a more subtle approach would suffice.

These youngsters also lack confidence in their creations. Too often they jump out of character, breaking the narrative for some double-act bickering as 'themselves', and are too easily tempted to resorting to stupid gimmicks such as glove puppets or overactive miming.

Yet there are moments of clever, imaginative writing, the duo's timing is impeccable, and, once they relax into their performances, they are personable enough to overcome the many holes in the script.

This farcical and surreal show still need a lot of tinkering and tightening to find a consistent voice rather than creating a mish-mash of ill-matched gags. But the potential is certainly there.

Review date: 1 Jan 2002
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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