Review: Pappy's, Edinburgh Fringe 2012

pappy's

This is my review of Pappy's that ran during the Edinburgh Festival last August. I was on the Foster's Award Panel and I really thought they had a chance of winning it. Their shows had always been huge fun but this one upped the ante, adding an emotional kick to the giggles. They are also very nice down-to-earth people, though that did not have any bearing on the result. In the end they lost out to Dr Brown, but they are doing OK, they've got a BBC3 series, Secret Dude Society, coming soon and Matthew Crosby has recently been moonlighting as a dog called Sparky on BBC1's Animal Antics.

And for those that say that Awards don't matter they should have been there in Edinburgh on the final Sunday after the prizes had been handed out when Pappy's did a special performance of their show in which they downed bottles of Advocaat during the show. Every time Matthew Crosby spotted me in the audience he shouted out "It's not to late to change your mind Bruce" and at one point had to be held back by Tom Parry in a "Don't do it Matthew, he's not worth it" moment. All an ironic joke of course, but you know what the Dutch say, "in Advocaat veritas." Or something.

Pappy's Last Show Ever is at Soho Theatre until April 20.

 

Could the best sketch comedy show at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe be the best comedy show overall? Pappy’s madcap Last Show Ever was deservedly nominated for a Foster’s Comedy Award yesterday.

This is a show that manages to be slick and silly, daft and deft and the climax may even leave a lump in your throat. There has been a bit of a trend for sentimentality in recent years with the likes of Jason Cook, Sean Hughes, Mark Thomas and Russell Kane among those making their fans a bit blubby, but I didn't expect Pappy's to be such softies.

The premise is simple. Ben Clark plays an old version of himself reflecting on his final gig with Matthew Crosby and Tom Parry. In flashback we see that fateful performance. Highlights include a brilliant quickfire date-to-grave romance that evokes the opening of Up, an identical scene that is repeatedly given different meanings by different music and Parry inheriting a failing glove business, prompting the immortal squirm-inducing line “I’m losing money hand over fist.”

Much of the action trades on the trio’s immense amiability, which enables them to pull off the corniest gags. But there is also some very clever writing, slotting everything together. Just when you think they have driven themselves down a comedic cul-de-sac it turns out that they knew what they were doing all along and they are on the right path to a punchline after all. 

While the props resemble junk shop rejects, there are no throwaway lines. Everything counts and almost everything leads to a laugh. A possible award winner on Saturday, a definite winner for anyone who sees this.

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