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Idiots Of Ants: Model Citizens

Note: This review is from 2011

Review by Steve Bennett

A couple of years after being nominated for the Edinburgh Comedy Award, Idiots Of Ants are showing no signs of resting on their laurels. Model Citizens is another big, bold, funny hour that cements their reputation as one of the Fringe’s must-see sketch shows.

The show starts in the Idiots’ sitcom-like flat, fitted with remnant props from bygone sketches. Such elaborate scenery turns out to be the setting one of their inspired, metaphysical in-jokes when the flatmates suddenly realise they’ve an audience to entertain. And, my, how we are entertained.

The Idiots are now at that that stage where they are so confident in their writing – and rightly so – that they can perform loosely, letting their own personalities shine through. They corpse, screw up, and deliberately try to undermine each other, which makes for a riotously fun atmosphere, which spreads throughout the audience. That said, they never let the wheels come off completely, and no sketch is submerged beneath the horseplay. Slick but loose is the order of the day.

How good are they? Let’s just say they make juggling, mime and even just the act of spraying air freshener amusing. And when Elliott Tiney fumbles the first, the reaction is not the usual sarcastic ‘way-hay!’, but apparently genuine upset, so much do the audience buy into their comedy.

There are solid, witty ideas at the core of all their scenes, clever ‘what if…’ scenarios that approach the familiar from a new direction; the sort of twisted observation the best stand-ups might employ, but expressed in sketch format, then acted out with unwavering conviction and a willingness to suffer for their art. Slapstick sensibilities run through a lot of it, but there’s a reason for every physical humiliation.

The hour zips by in a whirl of strange ideas, which I could list but that would spoilt the selection-box surprise – but rest assured there’s hilarity all the way, until the audience are up on their feet helping with the joyous send-off. It’s simply sketch comedy how it should be done.

Review date: 8 Aug 2011
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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