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Note: This review is from 2011

Review by Steve Bennett

The last time Dan Antopolski was in an Edinburgh sketch show, his co-stars were Lee Mack and Catherine Tate, so he would be forgiven if he thought he’d been left behind in the career stakes. For his second attempt at cracking it, Jigsaw, he’s joined up with up-and-comers Tom Craine and Nat Luurtsema.

And, my, does this Jigsaw have a lot of pieces. The emphasis is very much on the quickfire, with jokes zipping in and out at a breakneck speed. Other than pace, there’s no other unifying ethos of the show – one minute surreal, the next punny, then a sight gag, then maybe a more conventional sketch, but stripped back as much as possible.

Their efficiency is ruthless, though the fact it lacks a distinctive single voice means it’s hard to get a handle on where they are coming from. And the quality is as variable as the tone; some scenes get a quick chuckle, others are almost-painful ‘dad jokes’. The saving grace, of course, that the duds are over quickly.

Antopolski, especially, seems to revel in the cheesier aspects of the show – he seems to have the most childish sense of humour, and inhabits the more bewildered, dafter characters. Craine is the more level-headed everyman, while Luurtsema proves herself a useful sketch actress. But none really stick to any type, the script turns so fast that they barely have time to pop behind the black screen before they have to pop back out again, perhaps with some silly prop, for the next one.

It’s generally gently daft stuff, as family-friendly as a show that features a ghost testicle can be. Stand-out sketches include the hostage negotiator who’s winging it, the penguins who waddle on muttering to themselves at the start, and the obstetrician with a well-developed sense of gaydar. A couple of ideas recur, but generally this is a show that pushes forward rather than milking running gags.

It is – wouldn’t you know it – a bit hit and miss; but there are certainly enough decent moments for it be worth a punt.

Review date: 9 Aug 2011
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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