review star review star review star review blank star review blank star

Clever Peter - Fringe 2009

Note: This review is from 2009

Review by Steve Bennett

Clever Peter are a competent sketch group, but not a hugely exciting one. Their show lacks a defining personality, and the content is very much the definition of hit-and-miss, with a few funny moments sitting alongside some very uninspired set-ups.

That starts from the very beginning, when one character gets caught up in the labyrinthine workings of a call centre, forever on hold or passed from one department to another. It turns out to be a convoluted set-up for the show’s bookends: a quest through space and time (ie any sketch setting the trio can think of) to acquire a prescribed list of artefacts. There are more convolutedly phoney stuctures for shows out there, but ‘call centres, eh?, they’re annoying’ is hardly setting the bar high from the get-go.

Talking of which, there’s a plastic cock here. Once your punchline relies on nothing more than producing a dildo from your trousers, you know your artistic bank account has plunged into the red. That’s the lowest level here, but juvenile sniggering and shock-value punchlines are prevalent.

They have also, by pure coincidence, got a number of sketches inferior to very similar scenes in other Edinburgh shows. Superclump have both a warped take of The Snowman and a scene involving a black-clad man moving props through the air; while Cardinal Burns do a much better job of the rituals ahead of a night on the town.

There are some nice moments: some zingy one-liners in the detective sketch, a sadness in the Viking pillager unable to perform the rape part of his job description, or the uncomfortable sexual tension between two shy flatmates – scenes which suggest that Clever Peter are capable of more mature writing. Sometimes, too, there’s an intriguing air of oddness around the scenes, but it’s not consistent.

All three are strong performers, with a feel for the naturally funny – but that doesn’t always shine through in the writing, which is largely competent with a few moments both above and below that baseline. The hour’s moderately entertaining, but that doesn’t Cut the Mustard in the most prestigious arts festival in the world.

Review date: 30 Aug 2009
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.