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Jack Offline - Fringe 2009

Note: This review is from 2009

Review by Steve Bennett

No joke is too low for three-man sketch team Ladma, in this confused and unlikeable sitcom. Fisting a stuffed dog, producing dildos and spunking over a computer keyboard are just some of the cheap images desperately employed to elicit some reaction in the audience.

The show revolves around three losers, none of whom are particularly sympathetic. Brothers Jack and Grant have the traditional double-act relationship of submissive, cowardly idiot and dominant, bullying idiot, but with a sordid edge. Grant, for example, spends much of the show in filthy beige underwear with ‘interesting’ markings.

Their schoolfriend, Craig, begins an unlikely relationship with their mother, so the pair conspire first to drive him away, then – on discovering he has a few thousand pounds in the bank – persuade him to stay.

Craig, for want of any better characterisation, is a wannabe musician, who dreams of being interviewed by Jonathan Ross, portrayed here, rather convincingly, as a sock puppet. It means he can punctuate the tedious plot with musical numbers, such as the How We Met song, described as ‘like Romeo and Juliet at a Milton Keynes concert’.

Decent performances just about rescue these Brighton-based twentysomethings from the jaws of a one-star review, but they really need to get their writing above the belt if they are to capitalise on those talents.

Review date: 31 Aug 2009
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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