Note: This review is from 2008

Review by Steve Bennett

The Moops are a relatively new sketch trio. Why, then, do they sound like a nondescript Oxbridgey Radio 4 comedy from circa 1982?

They do nothing to move away from the stereotypical white middle-class male comedy troupe, with mostly unfunny material performed with an air of smug entitlement. This joke-sparse show feels like an exercise in playing at comedy, rather than bringing any fresh ideas, outlook or atmosphere to the table.

All of their characters will be familiar. Not from life, but from countless other sketch shows. How about a privileged schoolboy talking like a gangsta rapper? Or a post environmental campaigner urging everyone else not to fly lest global warming spoils his skiing in the Alps?

The set-ups are straightforward, but stretched to destruction, each sketch almost tediously long. For example, some vague consultants are brought it to develop a new swear word and run through about 30 made-up four-letter combinations. ‘Felp’, ‘klat’, ‘plig’ – these probably aren’t any that they used, but they’re so easy to generate, you wonder why they bother with so many.

The trio perhaps hope that a sardonic, ironic air will carry the show – after all, that worked for Angus Deayton long enough - but it doesn’t. It needs jokes, and lots of them. Now and again a line might take you by surprise, but generally there’s a comedy drought, with very few sketches generating more than polite applause when they’re over.

The performances are confident, but not exactly realistic. The tone is always of actors doing a sketch show, not of real characters – or even Little Britain-style grotesques. It all just underlines the fundamental problem that this show just has no personality of its own.

It might seem harsh to criticise such a new group so harshly, as they may have some undeveloped talent, especially given that they seem so at ease on stage. But they would probably be best advised to go back to the drawing board and consider what they want to say, and how they want to say it. Only then will they be more distinctive than this bland, forgettable offering portends.

Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Brighton, May 2008

Review date: 25 May 2008
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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