Note: This review is from the 2017 Fringe

Where do we go when we die? Your guess is as good as Goodbear’s – and they’re putting their money on the Hotel Après Vie. A disconcerting place where guests can live ad infinitum in exchange for mountains of cash and possibly their soul, the hotel is a kooky construct which acts as a fine tether holding together the weird and wondrous list of characters that crop up in Goodbear’s sketch show.

The pair are experts are masters of character comedy. Slipping effortlessly in and out of the skins of all sorts of creations – from a pyromaniac little girl and her grandma to a put-upon husband and his want-away pregnant wife, and many, many others in between – the duo feed off each other’s energy and tumble through the script, leaving no time for breath in between each skit. Despite this, each character is still given enough attention to resonate with the audience (at least for the purposes of comedy), not least due to the tics and idiosyncrasies attributed to every last one of them.

Facial expressions are where the boys excel, with Henry Perryment in particular enjoying an ability to have the audience in stitches through a mere flutter of the eyelashes or smack of the lips. It’s a rare gift and one he (and to a lesser extent, Joe Barnes) use to its full effect throughout the hour-long show. The narrative is incoherent at times (to say the least), but the afterlife hotel idea is an artful conceit which neatly ties up the myriad threads and contributes to a multifaceted, harum-scarum show bristling with charisma, quirk and silliness. With their run due to finish on the 16th, you’d be a fool not to catch these cats before they check out.