Clever Peter

Note: This review is from 2008

Review by Steve Bennett

This lively new sketch quartet are full of youthful, eager vigour, giving them a very appealing stage presence.

However, their relative inexperience also shows in their writing, which doesn’t throw up enough surprises to avoid being largely predictable. Most the scenes rely on some grossly inappropriate sexual behaviour for their payoff, which suggests the team is not looking very hard for inspiration. One or two times this proves genuinely funny, but they certainly tend overplay the same trick.

Many ideas seem like lesser versions of gags that are already well-known. The repeated catchphrase ‘I seem to have completely misread the situation,’ for instance feels like a Fast Show cast-off.

Then there’s the Famous Five spoof that repeats similar material to the classic Comic Strip Presents… film, or the extended sketch about the working-class Northern lad who wants to follow his dream of being a coal miner despite coming from a family of ballet dancers which. although intended as a Billy Elliot parody, is an almost carbon copy of Monty Python.

The performers are perhaps too young to know the original, so it’s probably more coincidence than rip-off – but the fact they make jokes first cracked more than 40 years ago is a sure sign they’re not on the inventive edge of comedy.

All four of them do, however, have a certain flair for over-the-top comic acting, whether it’s for a bug-eyed rant or their winsome Enid Blyton quintet. The sheer amount of energy they expend on simply twatting about on stage is appealing – if only it could be focussed in a more original direction.

A few of the scenes do break out from their safe pattern, and tend to be better for it. A sketch between a clown and an Army recruiting sergeant, for instance, shows a potential for more imaginative writing than the ‘trousers-down’ punchlines that they lean on too heavily to stand out.

Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Brighton, May 2008

Review date: 1 Jan 2008
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

What do you think?

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.