Original review from October 2007

Note: This review is from 2012

Review by Steve Bennett

Pappy’s Fun Club initially seem like your typical Oxbridgy sketch troupe: fresh-faced, eager and all rather earnest. Their routines may be defined by the easy banter between them, but otherwise start off in a traditional vein, presented with the oddly false veneer of a magazine-style TV show.

Scenes such as the horror film based around the trivial everyday scares that cause you momentary panic, or the crappy Jeremy Beadle-style prankster do little to challenge the image. They’re amusing enough, but hardly revolutionary.

Slowly, though, they start to subvert the expectations of the genre that they initially played up to; and longer scenes take genuinely unexpected directions, offering a rich dollop of stupidity to offset their winsome presentation.

This works best within their own full-length shows, where they have the time to properly play with the ideas, and the audience are happy to let the modest start grow into something much more impressive. But Pappy’s are one of the few sketch groups to also play the stand-up circuit, where they can have a bumpier ride with crowds expecting quicker gratification.

Appearances can be deceptive, however, and when they release it, this tight-knit quartet has a fearsome amount of upbeat energy. Songs bundle along joyously, and their lively performances bring a genuine sense of fun.

There’s an almost tangible gang spirit between the members, each with a well-defined role, though versatile enough to drop into other characters. Tom Parry is the big cuddly fool countered by Matthew Crosby’s tight, self-conscious sobriety; Brendan Dodds is full of eager, baby-faced cheek, while Ben Clark is a more ethereal presence.

Pappy’s are often touted as ‘the next We Are Klang’ – which is odd, since the original Klang are very much alive, productive – and not yet famous in their own right. But they are, perhaps, Klang’s younger brothers. They certainly have a similar sense of fun and attention to detail that makes their surreal flourishes almost credible, but without the boisterousness, recklessness and filth.

There’s still a slight ‘hit-and-miss’ feeling to the sketches, but the best are sublime. And it’s easy to let their obvious expertise blind you to the fact they are still relative newcomers, with as-yet untapped potential to become an even more impressive comedy force.

Review date: 10 Oct 2012
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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