Bishops | Edinburgh Fringe comedy review
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Edinburgh Fringe comedy review

Chris Curran and Noah Matthews  check their privilege at the start of their debut show as Bishops, raising – and attempting to quickly dispel – questions of whether the Fringe needs another privately educated white boy sketch double act.

The answer has to be no, of course, but groups like Crybabies keep making formidable cases for themselves, keeping their demographic’s shoe jammed in the door.

Bishops currently fit the vibe to a T, but they have a fair bit of work to do before the pantheon is in sight. The sketches here do just enough to scrape by and provide a reasonable hour of entertainment for the young crowd, but any fan with a couple of Fringes under their belt will quickly start pining for the acts that heavily inspire this show.

Both performers are good, at least clearing the bar for sketch acting, but formulas start to emerge pretty early. Pull back and reveal is the order of the day, with each sketch dutifully opening on a banal exchange, adding context to show that actually something amusing is going on, then providing a little twist at the end which will be discussed self-referentially as a breather before the next premise hoves into view.

There’s a bit of fun with one of the festival’s more obvious audience plants, and a familiar gag about one of the props concealing a character who’s apparently been crouched there for the whole hour only to be given nothing to do.

The writing, at this stage, just isn’t strong enough to lift Bishops clear of their influences. The best sketch here – the one where Chris can’t work out when his cue is – seems to have been lifted almost unedited from The Pin. Elsewhere, there’s a sense of a void where the voice should go. Skits about King Arthur, The Wizard of Oz and Stevie Wonder could have appeared in any sketch show since the Fringe’s inception – these are young comedians; are these really the reference points that speak to them?

Plenty of people in this room were having a perfectly lovely time, but Bishops are only going to start truly clicking when they manage to locate themselves inside their work.

Review date: 14 Aug 2023
Reviewed by: Tim Harding
Reviewed at: Gilded Balloon Patter House

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