Folk Off Ulster
Show type: Edinburgh Fringe 2005
The Craic appears! Fast emerging Belfast comedy team present quick-fire sketches featuring the kind of people you hope won't sit next to you on the bus. Contemporary Irish wit, fleetingly interrupted by a (nearly) nude accordionist.
A bit of a Belfast dog's dinner. It is very difficult to hold together a series of would-be TV sketches on stage with a team whose actin ability varies so widely and which, it seems, includes no stand-up comics.
The amiable but aimless show occasionally feels a bit like acting exercises interrupted by a compere who seems more like a moderator in an improv show - which this is not.
The Troubles are occasionally referred to but do not dominate and the scripts, though variable, are tightly written and well edited. The most promising idea was a fantasy in which the Maze Prison had become a nudist camp but with the same old sectarian divisions. Nude Orangemen retained their bowler hats and the slogan: ‘What we have we hold’.
Sketch revues were what made the Fringe famous but are now notoriously difficult to pull off successfully. Inn this case, Ulster was not right. Like the Peace Process, I have no constructive suggestions to the team, except keep trying.