Three Men And A Bourbon

Note: This review is from 2003

Review by Steve Bennett

Sketch trio The Wayward Council have made a bold, assured Fringe debut with this witty and quirky offering.

Their varied collection of sketches are hung around the idea of a bizarre biscuit evening, where the pompous Mackenzie, his browbeaten underling Mark and a moody private detective gather to sup tea and catalogue various baked confectioneries.

Though it's freely and frequently discarded, this set-up enables the talented threesome to create a lovely, bizarre little world to which they can repeatedly return, lending an essentially disparate show an air of continuity and whimsy.

As the characters drift off into fantasy sequences and reminiscences, the sketches are played out: the private eye' dreams of being in the CIA, theoretical physicist Shrodinger is berated by animal rights activists for his thought experiments, and a master criminal applies for a bank loan to fund his megalomaniacal plan.

Bizarrely, one of these ideas - a hard-hitting journalist reporting live from the scene of a nursery rhyme incident - is a throwback to a similar old Muppet Show sketch. In a Fringe dominated by Bill Hicks wannabes, it's odd to see someone inspired by Kermit the Frog.

Aside from that, it's an inventive collection. The writing feels a bit studenty, but mostly in a good way: applying intelligence and ridiculous levels of logic to situations and playing with the conventions of theatre for the sake of a good gag.

Not everything works, but the strike rate is certainly above average, making for an enjoyable teatime treat. And it's pulled off with an infectious sense of brash, confident fun where corpsing is an ever-present threat.

Review date: 1 Jan 2003
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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