Five things about...The Beta Males in ... Superopolis
Andrew Mickel22 August 2013
Super-powered sketch comedy from the Betas...
The first full show with all five Beta Males in the show at once - basically imagine what it would be like if all six Sugababes appeared on the one bill - is one exciting proposition. Unlike the Sugababes, they, as always, are likeable, super-slick and cram jokes into every crevice. Even when the odd dud has snuck its way through for the sake of squeezing every last laugh from the hour, the hit rate is high as one of the super-powered characters flying through the air.
Let’s clear the one downer on this list now: the first ten minutes in the show we saw sure were confusing. They are intended as a movie title pastiche, with a fast-paced intro to life among the super-powered denizens of Superopolis - but the pace was so hectic that the normally super-tight Betas were yelling lines off stage or into props, meaning most of the jokes were blurred and lost. Heavy proviso: we’ve heard other people sing the praises of the opening titles, so it could well have just been this performance that it was off.
It’s good to get that out of the way, because this really is a show that illustrates how the Betas are at the top of their game: the boys take what is expected from modern-day sketch acts - tight timing, over-the-top characters and great one-liners - and deliver it with a lot of charm. Indeed, the confusion of the opening titles is a useful pointer to one of the show’s strengths: no gag outstays its welcome as there are a lot of characters and plots to get through over the hour. The dissection of a crime using slow-motion shows this at its best, bringing superb visual gags together with some A-grade horsing around. There’s a sheen of comic book jokes here but they never take away delivering the best sketch on offer this Fringe.
Other highlights: choosing an audience member - an allocated Brian - to decide the fate of a superhero-in-waiting’s parents; Richard Soames doing his child-like shtick; Adam Blampied and Guy Kelly’s knockabout dialogue (in a more innocent age we would say ‘knockabout banter’) as the detectives on the trail of a supervillain...there really are an embarrassment of riches here.
John Henry Falle taking his clothes remains one of comedy’s most reliable ways to shock an audience into silence, and then hysterics. Which is quite lucky, as the Betas really do look like their suits are on their last legs. Here’s hoping they get new threads for next year - the five-man line-up is five star in every sense.
The Beta Males in ... Superopolis is at the Pleasance Dome at 7pm until Monday 26 August at 7pm. There's a BONUS SHOW at 11pm this Friday to boot.
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