Live Review: Sketch Off Final 2020, Leicester Square Theatre: Page 2 of 2

Live Review: Sketch Off Final 2020, Leicester Square Theatre

Typical. You wait ages for a Bee Gees gag and then two come along in succession. Straight after the interval, by a quirk of running order, double act Mark and Hayden opened their second half set with a Bee Gees/Resuscitation routine. Luckily they were aware of what had just happened and were able to build the coincidence into their performance. Mark and Hayden have been in competitions before and seem good at coming up with new material. Their best sketch featured Mark being distracted by all sorts of unlikely things on his phone when he should have been reading his lines. I couldn’t actually read what he was typing from halfway back in the stalls – although I think I did spot a dick pic – but the gist of it was funny enough and maybe they deserved a placing.

David McIver was a name I recognised but I’d never seen him do this character - basically a man in a dress/smock who had smoked some weed at a festival and was coming up with weird thoughts backed by Enya’s Orinoco flow in between some woozy dancing. If the stoned thoughts had been funnier it might have worked but asking things like where does your lap go when you stand up did not really have enough bite.

Peter Fleming sounded like a lost Fast Show character and in his tweedy jacket looked like one too. Fleming claimed to be a retired children’s TV presenter who had worked on all sorts of funny sounding shows. This was quite good anyway and the comic content was ramped up when he promised scurrilous stories about Blue Peter presenters. The audience shouted out names and Fleming responded with increasingly ridiculous insights. Who knew, for instance that Peter Purves could fly unaided? And as for Konnie Huq, well you’ll have to ask Fleming yourself to find out…

Adidas-clad Joe Jacob is another competition regular and he certainly puts a lot into his comedy raps, deftly coming up with daft lyrics evoking periods from the 1980s to the 1890s. There was some further straightforward Grime humour where he simply mouthed the wordless sounds that some modern singers come out with. I liked his gag about being addicted to Gaviscon, but maybe that’s because I can confirm that the pink aniseed flavour is very more-ish. I’m not sure how relatable it was though to younger audience members.

The final act, trio Northern Power Blouse, reminded us that this was a sketch competition with some tightly performed sketches. After the CPR gags earlier there was more medical humour here with an injured patient being reluctant for the paramedic to cut off her good bra (I don’t have a good bra but as a man I do have a best pair of pants so the joke still worked for me). A closing song about what women really want from their boyfriend had plenty of pithy lines in it too. Nothing cutting edge but on a night when the audience really needed a laugh it left them with plenty.

Picture: Steve Ullathorne


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