Pleasance That was the room from which sketch performers Lazy Susan got a Best Newcomer nomination last year. Nothing quite so promising from trio Daphne there this year in a sometimes irritating set, with just occasional flashes of real quality.
Part of the problem lies in the chemistry; none seem natural sketch performers – Phil Wang has the demeanour and range of a non-playing comedy writer (although he’s also here as a stand-up), Jason Forbes the demeanour and range of a (good) straight actor, and George Fouracres, the demeanour of a straight stand-up or solo character comic. Aside from sharing a certain erudition – they wear their intellect a little too obviously, dropping into foreign languages from the off and making all too easy switches into thespy historical re-enactment mode – there’s nothing here that screams classic combo.
Sketches overstay their welcome. A funny and absurdly gory Captain Hook/Peter Pan sketch looks about done, until Smee arrives for an unrewarding minute or two more. A grotesque Postman Pat sketch has the hallmarks of Vic and Bob at their daftest, but they haven’t earned the audience’s suspension of reality enough, and it doesn’t actually go anywhere.
They do some deconstruction with a sketch explaining the pull back and reveal. It’s clever and ends well, but still a little supercilious.
The show does at least end on a high note, with its three best moments. There’s one truly excellent sketch – a radio play called Slave Market, in which the trio confuse who should be doing the “black” voices and who the “white”, with consequent effects for use of the “n”-bomb. Well scripted, there could have been more of it.
Forbes then pulls off some fantastic physical comedy, and incredibly doesn’t take out a few members of the audience, as a clumsy barista, but it doesn’t pay off the recurring “where did you get that large coffee cup?” build-up. Likewise, the lovely closer – a cock-er-nee knees-up war song – doesn’t justify the rather grating “songs from round the world” that Fouracres has been singing throughout. Overall, not the tour de force it was meant to be.