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The Real MacGuffins: Skitsophrenic

Note: This review is from 2011

Review by Marissa Burgess

One thing's for sure, this show is a full display of the trio's ample performance skills, with several choreographed sequences, a whole showcase of dramatic emotion and even some opera. It's so highly polished, there's a danger that the piece will turn into a showreel.

But there is substance behind the performance. Many of the set pieces are cleverly and skilfully put-together. The first skit proper, set in a psychiatrist’s office, plays around with the question of who's the therapist and who's the patient, who's dreaming and who's conscious, feeding into their theme of comedy and madness. That ambiguity is something all of the on-stage personae suffer from in varying degrees. Dan March is dominating and slips into characters to flirt with the crowd, Matt Sheahan is continually put-upon largely because he looks like a cat and Jim Millard feels the others are thwarting his serious acting career. These character traits fuel the kind of friction that double acts and sketch troupes have used for years.

Conversely, the real-life trio look like they're having a lot of fun, constantly corpsing and poking fun at each other. So good-natured is the feeling in the room that when Millard accidentally gets the cards he is holding upside-down, the crowd gently point it out to him.

As expected of a sketch troupe named after filmic term, there are plenty of movie references. A pun-filled segment incorporates as many Hitchcock films into a dialogue as possible, then there's their interpretation of the Great Escape and a cinematic-style recreation of A Christmas Carol.

There's much outright silliness to be found here too. Sheahan's serious production of Oedipus is undermined by the other two reminding him what he looks like. The result is that Oedipus becomes crossed with Bagpuss.

There are some truly stand-out moments: The Great Escape culminates in a fantastic motorbike sequence, there's a job interview where every sentence ends in a rude word, and the operatic finale is sublimely simple.

The only real downside here is that their humour repeatedly delves below the belt. There seems to be an obsession with sex in general and cocks in particular, which gets tiresome. Aside from that it's brilliantly well-crafted.

Review date: 28 Aug 2011
Reviewed by: Marissa Burgess

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