EDINBURGH | GLASGOW | ABERDEEN | INVERNESS | DUNDEE | PERTH

Next Best Thing

at Pleasance Courtyard

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A couple of oddball characters try to show us the ropes.

Image of Next Best Thing

Jay Bennett and Katie Davison profess to know how to do everything and over the course of their hour-long show, they’re going to teach us (no refunds). This loose workshop construct is quickly discarded in favour of showcasing the girls’ oddball personalities, with the former a slightly unhinged but ultimately charming nymphomaniac and the latter an uptight, attention-seeking virgin.

As a premise, it has potential and the girls don’t hold back on embracing their roles. Unfortunately, the writing has a tendency to be shaky and the chemistry between the two doesn’t always hit its mark, as some of the interplay seems forced and unnatural. Meanwhile, the cringeworthy audience interaction is made all the worse by the fact that those asked to participate are at times funnier off the cuff than the girls’ pre-written material.

There are positives to be taken from the show, for sure. The idea of unwittingly revealing certain foibles and character traits has legs and does work on occasion, especially in conjunction with Jay’s completely shameless persona and Katie’s prudishness. But the fact that a big deal is made about in-jokes to which the audience (is presumably supposed to but) doesn’t feel party demonstrates the cracks in the script.

A keen eye for what works and a sharper sense of comedic timing would do wonders to enhance this show, which is perhaps just a matter of putting in the hard yards in rehearsal and onstage. Undoubtedly, the pair will learn from the experience and hopefully will come back again next year, even more qualified to teach us how to be good at everything.