The Future

Note: This review is from 2006

Review by Steve Bennett

It's rare to see a sketch group with a truly unique new voice, but that's exactly what you get with The Future. As a show, it's significantly flawed ­ but there's something bold, fresh and original in its ambition that suggests greater things ahead.

Key to the style of this creative double act is the dogged determination of their characters to stick to preposterous positions in the face of logic, argument or evidence. The dialogue gets increasingly surreal as the truth is avoided or denied, and wires deliberately crossed, taking the comedy of miscommunication into bizarre new territory.

Most of the sketches are set in the buttoned-down corporate world, allowing the creep of business jargon to muddy the waters even more. The set-ups are ridiculous. One worker seems to have developed an unhealthy obsession with a ventilation fan; another refuses to explain a decision that cost the company dear, and there's much talk of a mysterious colleague called Alexander, who seems to have befallen an odd but undetermined fate.

The duo, both Cambridge Footlight alumni, are fascinating to watch. Johnny Sweet tends to adopt a vacuous faraway stare as he sticks to his obvious made-up lies; while Joe Thomas tends to play it relatively straight. But the roles do reverse.

One problem with this a show is that there's not enough to distinguish the characters; there's kind of a running theme, but not really a narrative, and it's unclear whether we're meeting the same people again, or whether it's a new acquaintances we have to make. The deliberately disjointed dialogue can be too intense to follow for long periods too.

More explanation and structure as to what's going on is essential. The conversations are already garbled, usually in a good way, there's no need for the whole show to be, too.

But the speech patterns, jokes and situations are unlike anything you are likely to have ever heard before. With strong but sympathetic direction and script editing, these two creative minds could have something quite marvellous on their hands.

Steve Bennett

Review date: 1 Jan 2006
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

What do you think?

Live comedy picks

We see you are using AdBlocker software. Chortle relies on advertisers to fund this website so it’s free for you, so we would ask that you disable it for this site. Our ads are non-intrusive and relevant. Help keep Chortle viable.