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Skitzaphrantic

Skitzaphrantic

Show type: Edinburgh Fringe 2003

Following last year's success of Death by Sketches, the infamous Noel James and Steve Best achieve obscurity again with a new show featuring sharp, satirical nuggets, such as Iraqnaphobia, Norman's an Island, Crab Flamenco, to name butter... fluid surrealjism.

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Original Review:

Between them, Noel James and Steve Best have a wealth of comedy experience and decent track records. So how, then, have they managed to produce one of the most shambolic, amateurish sketch shows on the Fringe?

The pair desperately mug their way through their painfully strained material like a couple of keen but incompetent students attempting comedy for the first, and probably last, time. They throw themselves into it with gusto, but there's just not enough funny to make it worthwhile.

Many of the sketches rely on fast-paced backchat with unfeasible comic misunderstandings and appalling puns piling into each other like carriages in a train wreck.

There are some redeeming features. Sporadic great gags lie amid the carnage, but they're pretty hard to spot - the brilliant jokes aren't given room to breathe but buried under a torrent of rubbish, while somewhere else a pun that's not even bad enough to be a groaner will be given the hard sell. It's incredibly frustrating to watch.

The duo, occasionally joined by their techie, seem to be having much more fun than their audience. Unfortunately, it isn't catching. And once they realise this, things get even more desperate as they try even harder to inject some life into the situation.

They're likeable lads, but need to apply a lot more discipline to get the most out of their limited amount of decent material.

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