Sploshy: A New Sketch Show

Sun 17th June 2012

reviews

Thomas Stell

at 01:36 on 18th Jun 2012

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In a scene where the lone stand-up comedian has nearly eclipsed the live sketch-show, well made examples of the latter are always particularly welcome. 'Sploshy' are one of these examples; their writing is crisp, their discipline and precision on stage very good and their timing exact.

This evening sketches and short scenes followed one another in a rush of surreal associations and nonsense; in a kind of baroque and extravagant ridiculousness one sees far too rarely in comedy today. We are introduced to a librarian with a voice like a sinister Rambling Sid Rumpo, a close harmony group who are plagued by typos in their sheet-music that have their lead singer coming out with the some of the most explicit lines, and the panel for a gameshow “How resistant is your wife’s face?”. It was a dreadful shame it wasn’t better attended, when inferior comedy groups play to packed venues, but the audience that was there enjoyed it immensely. As did I – and who would have thought that “Are you ready for the love” was so hilarious when sung in German?

The four performers complement each other extremely well - the flamboyant and the deadpan - and are very charismatic, but what really distinguishes them is their Pythonesque sense of the bizarre, their love of the grotesque. “In the Hall of the Mountain King” became the score of a nose-picking double act, and an actor collapsing with a hurt foot cues a musical ensemble extolling the virtues of the brogue. They can send the house into uproarious laughter with a word or sentence, be it a catch-phrase or “municipal oil-rig” inserted into one of their back-ground tracks, by giving it a tremendous comic energy, words divorced from any ordinary context and misplaced or deliberately over-used. And who can doubt the power to observe, not in a dry sense but in order to fuel the ridiculous, of a cast that have given us a pair of golfing types whose bluff conversation develops into a jovial but extremely painful looking fist fight, or the ability to invent the most inherently funny personalities of those who gave us an elderly accountant turned rapper called Funk-be-happening?

As I have tried to imply, this is not only an under-appreciated show, but also a genre that is under-appreciated. If some of the dedicated stand-up fans one comes across so often were to see this I believe they would be favourably surprised, so it is sad that the form is being abandoned – and quite without reason too because the special audience rapport people associate with imrov and solo comics is here in no smaller measure. It is only subtler.

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