This Glorious Monster

This Glorious Monster

Sketch group and short film makers comprising Martin Collins, Alex Finch, Daniel Hoffmann-Gill and Adam Loxley, who won awards at the Cofilmic and London Sketchfest festivals in 2014.
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This Glorious Monster: Wrong 'Uns

Note: This review is from 2016

Review by Steve Bennett

Debutant three-man comedy group This Glorious Monster attempt to bring almost cinematic sensibilities to their sketches. They specialise in longer-form scenarios, often played out over two or three episodes, that focus on encapsulating the wider, off-kilter atmosphere behind their premises.

It’s an approach that’s effective in drawing the audience into their slightly surreal worlds, despite a next-to-zero budget for props and costumes: a stage medium, a camping-shop assistant and a handful of unconvincing women all wearing the same plaid shirt and cargo shorts combo.

But they are less successful in finding effective punchlines and sometimes even set-ups to match the mood, and especially struggle to end scenes neatly. It often seems like a dark thought is considered enough for a scene.

Take, for example, the sketch involving a coma patient, set up over a series of voiceovers during blackouts. Mordant humour is dominant as the scene darkens, but then it plunges into some cheap dick-joke double entendres about size or the word ‘come’, and, after an odd diversion, ends with a payoff that’s predictable. But you’ll find yourself strangely drawn to the piece, for all its flaws, thanks to the acting chops of Adam Loxley, Daniel Hoffman-Gill and Martin Collins, the latter of whom writes the show with Alex Finch.

Likewise, a scene about diarrhoea isn’t exactly sophisticated, but bowel movements are alway primally funny, and the commitment to the gag pays off for its audacity… they could probably have spluttered along for even longer, had they wanted, since the more extreme, the better.

Less successful is a skit involving a pervy driving instructor that isn’t quite clear if it’s meant to be cringy or slapstick, and so misses both, and the seance scenes seem to exist less for the so-so joke at their core and more for the call-and-responses that allegedly create the right ‘sonic vibrations’ to connect with the other side, but actually serve as effective audience warm-ups.

For This Glorious Monster do use the audience well – and sparingly. This is most effective in their calling-card scene about a son coming out as a clown to his parent. This strong, recurring segment uses a few stereotypes about the red-nosed entertainers and macho, intolerant dads, but takes things into peculiar directions.

Another hit is the menopausal HR manager and her intimidating enforcer, between them a compelling mix of menace, sexual aggression and desperation. This scene wouldn’t be too far out of place in the League Of Gentlemen, a group they’ve already been compared to (perhaps over-flatteringly) as their massive posters attest. Cardinal Burns might be another loose point of reference, although This Glorious Monster aren’t there yet, either.

But their talent in making their grotesques credible is a useful one – and it’s perhaps no surprise that they’ve made several well-shot YouTube videos given their focus on a bigger picture. But the small stuff, like actual jokes, needs some work.

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Published: 5 Aug 2016

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Past Shows

Edinburgh Fringe 2016

This Glorious Monster: Wrong 'Uns


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