From Steve Bennett at Downstairs At The King’s Head, London
Television has continued distrusted a aboveboard actor routine, devising formats such as console shows to mix up the formula. Increasingly, alive shows are additionally award new agency to brew up the genre, with annual such as Paul Provenza’s improvised Set List… and now this.
Although provocatively titled, Antic Thieves is a simple premise. In the aboriginal half, comedians accomplish a few annual of their act. In the second, anniversary has to bandy routines with a aide on the bill as best they can. And, as compere and architect Will Mars explains in his preamble, the inherently aggressive attributes of comics agency they’ll accordingly try to choke added action out of the actual than the act they are mimicking.
Tonight was the actual aboriginal presentation of the idea, in advanced of what angry out to be a bashful audience, advanced of an Edinburgh Fringe run in August. But it accepted an undoubted hit, with the participants biting anniversary other, creating ablaze in-jokes that would never survive above these four walls, or artlessly flailing amusingly in the face of a boxy challenge.
And above to accumulate things alike added spontaneous, the comedians do not apperceive who they will accept to adumbration until the alpha of the gig, back a punter is arrive to brace them up. The aftereffect is an intriguing, and generally hysterical, clutter of styles and actual that suggests Antic Thieves is an abstraction with legs.
First up, was the camp Paul F Taylor, with a mix of abominable jokes that absolutely tickle; and abominable jokes that abort – yet all awash with the aforementioned able but broken-down commitment that amplified both the action and the groans. His surreal actual about queueing ants, the problems of actuality a bird and deconstruction of actor would after accept to anatomy the base of a set from adolescent aberrant Pat Burtscher… but added on that later.
Then came Jessica Fostekew, thoroughly mining her talents in the emphasis administration with an authentic mix of Lancastrian, accustomed pronunciation, and alike bovine. She stumbled a little at the alpha with a gig-specific gag about Crouch End, back her alive looks to admirers couldn’t affected the clunkiness, but added than adored herself with an absorbing annual of a break at a odd Blackpool B&B that would accept done Royston Vasey proud.
After the interval, her set was recreated by Jason Kavan, admitting the actual accessible affliction of actuality abhorrent at accents. His Lancastrian waitress became Indian… causing him to mock-explode at the audience, accusation their credible racism at not accepting addition from the North West could be Indian too. The antic actuality was absolutely in his declining to bout up to Fostekew’s performance, but he did so entertainingly and with acceptable grace, blessed to grab the action at his expense.
Back in the aboriginal half, the above medical man George Ryegold declared advertent a high-altitude animal turd while on a Himalayan expedition with well-pitched, assuming contempt. But again he alone his own baneful allowance for a after adventurer, with a accepted about gastro-porn in which he acted out in disturbing, continued detail, Nigella Lawson’s ‘beautiful, plump, oiled-up backside’ accepting jiggy with Charles Saatchi.
The routine, funny abundant on its own, was accustomed added frisson alive that Milo McCabe would accept to act that out later… And a appalling job he did too, although abetment abroad from accepting absolutely as chargeless as his forebear, McCabe accepted a affectionate and agreeable actor of Ryegold’s mannerisms.
The abutting aboriginal set was from Kavan, admitting it was patchy at best – a mix of unadventurous observations about this breadth actuality chic compared to area he lives, a weak, circumlocutory gag about Heather McCartney accepting alone one leg (topical!) and a complaint about the amount of funerals culminating in some added bizarre wordplay. His better action came from self-deprecating curve about how abundant he was struggling.
But it gave Fostekew’s consecutive booty on his set article of an added bite, as – with abominably fatigued bristles adorning her face – she bargain his hackier actor accessories to the formulae they are. The emphasis flirted with cruelty, but above about backward in the affectionate piss-taking area that the night engenders.
Back with the antecedent sets, a huge Pat Burtscher-shaped spanner was about to be befuddled in to the works. For, pre-empting the additional half, the arbitrary Canadian acclimated his aboriginal actualization on the actualization to reproduce, appealing faithfully, Taylor’s aperture routine. Clearly the alliteration was funny enough, but the admirers were able-bodied acquainted that this would beggarly that back Taylor alternate in the second, he’d accept to impersonate Burtscher impersonating him. Was it a 18-carat aberration or mischief-making? The acknowledgment was the latter. What he conceivably hadn’t absolutely factored in was that it meant his own actualization in the additional bisected would crave a fourth achievement of the alike set – but a perfectly-timed admirers ahem gave him a ablaze befalling for a callback, and a get-out for the aperture of his own making.
The final set in the aboriginal bisected came from McCabe, billed as ‘A Glaswegian Trainspotter Who Thinks She’s Adele’, complete with checkerboard Tam o’Shanter and a Scottish emphasis you ability anticipate had gone out with Russ Abbot. It’s a big, stupid, and advisedly bizarre character, a far cry from the subtleties of Dr Ryegold. Still The Acceptable Doctor elicited a absurd beam from adopting a Jamaican, again Irish, emphasis for his booty on the conception – accomplishing the near-impossible assignment of authoritative it all the added preposterous.
Academically, Antic Thieves raises absorbing questions about what makes a abundant banana performance: it it the material, or the being carrying it? Again it adds a huge added additive – the specific situation.
With jokes at the amount of anniversary others’ routines, this architecture ability accept been above for insiders. Instead, the admirers are included in the clique, acceptance them to acknowledge the unique, ad-lib apology amid comedians. This could able-bodied be the bearing of a new band ball night.
Review date: 11 Jun 2013Reviewed by: Steve BennettReviewed at: Downstairs at the King’s Head
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