Edinburgh Fringe Review: The Pin, Pleasance Courtyard

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern might well be dead, but The Pin are live and funny as ever at this year’s Fringe. In a tightly scripted hour, Alex Owen and Ben Ashenden bend the form of sketch comedy almost to breaking point in what feels more like a play than a series of sketches. As per the title, Backstage, the two comics use the space in Pleasance Two to build a classic comic farce. Think Michael Frayn meets Shakespeare, as the play-within-a-play conceit translates with ease to refresh the sketch show format.  

Truly at the heart of this piece, however, is the friendship (or otherwise) between two halves of a double act. Alex and Ben are the support act for old-school entertainers Philip and Robin. We find The Pin post-performance, their quick fifteen minutes up, always the support and never the main act, reflecting on what it is that keeps the headline spot at bay.
What unfolds is a tense comic-drama, in which The Pin glimpse an opportunity to finally take the top spot. Along the way there’s plenty of room for classic character comedy, sparky one liners and plenty of silliness. But most of all, this hour yields a brilliant send-up of the perils of working in a double act, only to reconfirm the true friendship behind this hilarious show.
It is archetypal ‘clever’ comedy from the double act, as the two work on sketches in their downtime. In this new backstage setting we enter the meta-comic territory one might expect from The Pin, as the duo pull sketches apart at the limbs and deliver vintage slapstick humour in new shapes and sizes. There are some true-to-form sketches, and the pair build a great rapport with the audience.

Until August 27. Tickets here.

Read more Edinburgh Fringe reviews here.



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