Sophie Black

Sophie Black

Sophie Black: A Sketch Show

Note: This review is from 2010

Review by Steve Bennett

A former member of acclaimed sketch group Fat Tongue, Sophie Black’s first solo offering comes as something of a disappointment, with some underwritten characters who spend far too much time going nowhere.

It’s not a show without merit: Black is a convincing actor and when the sketches do remember to include a joke, it’s usually a good one. But there is just far too much filler overwhelming the good stuff.

The weakest character is the one she spends the most time on, Sue. A sketch artist of the drawing, rather than the comedy, kind, she exists only for a weak joke about the string of celebrities who have supposedly sat for her, and how they behaved either peculiarly mundanely, or exactly like the roles they are famous for. It’s a very, very long list – and doesn’t get any better the more we hear.

An eyepatch-wearing Hollywood director, currently filming an Iraq war epic, has a similarly dreary scene, with almost the same set-up, including the idea that ET is actually a real actor. And her costume designer, who only briefly features, is no more interesting.

But eventually we get on to the good stuff. Self-absorbed local radio DJ Danone who once copped off with Toby Antis, is a believable parody of those on the very edges of celebrity, enviously peering in. The jingle that introduces her is spot-on with its tedious geography, while out of the studio Danone fronts a charity to bring media skills to Africa’s poor.

The 33-year-old teacher trying too hard to be tight with her pupils, speaking and acting just like them, is a strong idea, even if you feel the youth patois is a rather overexploited comedy seam; while the ghost takes a rather obvious comic point, but making it from ‘the other side’ gives it a twist. And the kidnapper’s phone call is a real high.

It’s hard to reconcile this strong second half is from the same show as the first – but creative callbacks that tie all the scenarios together prove that they have all come from the same mind. Only a fool would write off Black, as there are some great comic ideas here – it’s just a shame they are shackled to some much weaker ones.

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Published: 24 Aug 2010

Fat Tongue

There's a five-minute sketch towards the end of Fat…


Past Shows

Edinburgh Fringe 2006

Fat Tongue

The Ed Weeks Variety

Edinburgh Fringe 2010

Sophie Black: A Sketch Show


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