Death By Sketches: The Hix Family Roobinstein

Note: This review is from 2002

Review by Steve Bennett

Utterly shambolic, and almost as funny, this fast-moving collection has more than a touch of Goon Show spirit about it.

Peurile, surreal, stupid, punny, energetic and refreshingly immature, just about the only thing that this show isn't is slick.

The chaos is obviously all part of the charm, yet just a tad more discipline might help realise the full potential of the often brilliant gags which get lost under a flurry of frantic activity.

These jokes are a lot cleverer than the haphazard presentation suggests - and treating them so lightly can be somewhat frustrating.

However it's certainly different from the majority of shows, where every joke needs to be milked for all its worth - here there's such an embarrassment of ideas and lines - both great and not-so-great - that they're in danger of causing a comedy pile-up.

But the fast and furious pace means the audience is never once in danger of waning, as you need to keep on your toes to spot where the next laugh coming from.

The lynchpin of the whole operation is the perennially distracted Noel James, and it's clear his devil-may-care attitude permeates every moment.

Steve Best is more childish, and his gleeful prop comedy is always a highlight.

Mark Felgate and Harriet Bowden are definitely the supporting cast - though there are a couple of sketches that make good and original use of Felgate's ventriloquist skills, and Bowden helps the fun along nicely - even if her acting occasionally lapses into pantomime mode.

As a silly romp, this certainly has verve and pizzazz, but there's clearly a truly brilliant show struggling to get out.

Review date: 1 Jan 2002
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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